McGee provides spark: Makes big plays in third quarter.
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.
The Warriors’ Javale McGee, left, defends Cavaliers star LeBron James during Game 1of the NBA Finals.