The Warriors set an early tone in the NBA Finals by beating the Cavaliers 113-91 in Game 1.

OAKLAND – The Logo was impressed.

Jerry West, the NBA legend who has spent the past six years as a trusted voice for the Golden State Warriors, has seen them at their best. But Thursday night was up there when it came to sheer dominance, with Kevin Durant and his basketball artistry leading the way in a 113-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

Yet as West and the Warriors learned a year ago, when they led 3-1 in the Finals only to lose grasp of that Larry O’Brien trophy in the unprecedented collapse, this is no time to assume the Cavs can’t counter.

“It’s not letting your guard down; you have to give credit to the other team,” West told USA TODAY Sports about the 2016 Finals. “We went through a little adversity last year. We had guys banged up, and obviously Draymond (Green) getting suspended (for Game 5) really took the steam out of us. But you have to give them credit. They won against long odds, and hopefully we can win three more games (this time around).

“I think we missed some shots (in Game 1) we can normally make. Nine days off from really tough competition (after their Western Conference Finals sweep of the San Antonio Spurs) is a lot, and you’re going to lose your sharpness. And I thought in some stretches out there, we were brilliant. And Kevin was other-worldly. He’s an other-worldly player anyway, but he was just so good it was a joke.”

Durant was nothing short of special, finishing with 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while handling his unenviable defensive duties with aplomb. He guarded the Cavs’ LeBron James more than anyone, helping force him into eight turnovers during the near-triple-double performance that looked better in the box score than it did in real time (28 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists).

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If the Warriors are looking for reasons to believe they can play even better, they’ll look no further than Klay Thompson. The Warriors shooting guard had yet another subpar offensive showing, missing 13 of 16 shots overall and all five of his three-pointers while scoring just six points.

Thompson in the regular season: 22.3 points per game while shooting 46.8% overall and 41.4% from three-point range.

Thompson in 13 playoffs games: 13.8 points per game while shooting 36.6% overall and 33.8 from beyond the arc.

If anyone isn’t about to lose faith in Thompson, it’s West. The 79-year-old played a pivotal part in the drafting of Thompson in 2011 (11th overall out of Washington State), and protested vehemently in the summer of 2014 when the Warriors strongly considered trading Thompson for the Cavs’ Kevin Love when he was still with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Well, defensively (Thompson) was really good (in Game 1),” West said. “The totality of a player’s game, to me, is what should be measured. He’s obviously not making shots. I think he’s gotten frustrated missing shots he normally makes, and he’s going to start making shots, ok. But you just hope he does the other things he normally does, so he’s a terrific player. He’s an All-Star player.”

So might West try to share a bit of sage advice for the 27-year-old?

When Thompson guarded James, Kyrie Irving, and Love, the Cavs stars were 1-of-11.

“I really don’t ever try to say anything to players,” he said. “I think mentally, everyone is probably saying something to him. Just leave him alone, ok? He’ll be fine.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick on Twitter @Sam_Amick


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