McGee pro­vides spark: Makes big plays in third quar­ter.

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Fa­raudo and Cam­in­man ba­yare­anews­group.com Melissa Rohlin and Lo­gan Mur­dock contributed to this

OAK­LAND » The War­riors needed a third- quar­ter jolt and JaValeMcGee cer­tainly was well-rested.

Coach Steve Kerr went with his 7-footer to start the sec­ond half and McGee de­liv­ered. Un­til he didn’t.

Af­ter a 56-all first half, McGee de­liv­ered an im­pres­sive de­fen­sive se­quence vs. LeBron James and a cou­ple quick bas­kets to spark a 10-3 start by the War­riors

McGee had played just three min­utes in the Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals against Hous­ton, benched be­cause of matchup is­sues against the small-ball Rock­ets.

He got the call against the Cavs and the fan fa­vorite earned cheers from the Or­a­cle crowd for stay­ing in front of James on the wing, forc­ing James to give up the ball.

Mo­ments later, McGee dunked off a pass from Dray­mond Green, then con­verted a layup off another feed from Green.

But when Stephen Curry de­liv­ered the ball to him, wide open at the hoop, McGee spun as if try­ing to elude a de­fender whowas­not there, and­his dunk try was blocked by the un­der­side of the rim.

Still, when McGee re­turned to the bench with 6:47 left in the quar­ter, the War­riors led 68- 63.

• Noth­ing likeaNBAFi­nals to at­tract Hol­ly­wood stars court­side, in­clud­ing ac­tors ready to pro­mote a movie. Two rows deep, Jeremy Ren­ner and Jon Hamm had more on their minds than their up­com­ing com­edy, “Tag.”

For Hamm, he mar­veled at this cham­pi­onship matchup pit­ting the Cleve­land Cava­liers and his gra­cious host Thurs­day night, the War­riors.

“I’mpulling for theWar­riors be­cause I just love how they play,” Hamm said. “But, my God, LeBron is go­ing ab­so­lutely bonkers in this play­offs. It seems su­per hu­man.”

For Ren­ner, be­ing on the War­riors court meant a lot to theModesto na­tive who’s no stranger to the Bay Area sports scene. The two-time Academy Award nom­i­nee is a re- de­voted 49ers fan, hav­ing been in­spired like so many oth­ers by last sea­son’s 5- 0 fin­ish with quar­ter­back Jimmy Garop­polo.

“Oh, Jimmy G, I haven’t met him yet. I can’t wait,” Ren­ner said. “Fi­nally we got some­one. Fi­nally!”

Other notables in at­ten­dance in­cluded ac­tor Rob Lowe, mu­si­cian Adam Levine, Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook, rap­per Tyler The Cre­ator, Barry Bonds and life coach Tony Rob­bins, who sat next to War­riors co- owner Peter Gu­ber.

• Asked if it was good for the league to have the same teams in the fi­nals four years in a row, NBA Com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver dis­cussed “par­ity” and the pos­si­bil­ity of a hard salary cap.

“You still have two teams that are sig­nif­i­cantly above not just the cap but the tax,” Sil­ver said in ref­er­ence to the War­riors and the Cavbaliers. “Pre­sum­ably one the el­e­ments that cre­ates a bit more par­ity in the NFL, is they have a so-called hard cap. We don’t have that. Now, it’s some­thing that we’ll con­tinue to look at.”

• An­dre Iguo­dala ( knee), missed his fifth straight post­sea­son game, but con­tin­ues to be eval­u­ated by the team’s med­i­cal staff.

“Just the usual stuff. The train­ing staff will put him through court work and any type of as­sess­ment, and then tell us if he’s ready or not,” Kerr said.

• Curry’s free throw with 9:27 left in the first quar­ter was the 379th of his post­sea­son ca­reer, break­ing his tie with Rick Barry for most in fran­chise his­tory.

• TheWar­riors got clob­bered on the boards, 5238, and al­lowed Cleve­land 18 of­fen­sive re­bounds But they made up for it with high- end ball se­cu­rity, as­sem­bling a 31-to-7 as­sistto-turnover ra­tio.

• Kevin Du­rant, with 26 points, has scored 20 points or more in 25 con­sec­u­tive postgame games. It is the sec­ond-long­est such streak by a War­riors player, be­hind only Wilt Cham­ber­lain’s streak of 30 from 1960- 64.

• An hour be­fore tipoff, Or­a­cle Arena’s box of­fice still had tick­ets avail­able, from $450 to $3,000. At that point, Sun­day ‘s Game 2 ws a hot­ter ticket, with only a hand­ful of seats left from $450 to $650.

• The War­riors im­proved to 15-1 with nine straight wins in post­sea­son se­ries- open­ing games over the past four years.

NHAT V. MEYER — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

The War­riors’ Javale McGee, left, de­fends Cava­liers star LeBron James dur­ing Game 1of the NBA Fi­nals.

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