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Kevin Durant leads Warriors' Game 1 rout of the Cavaliers

LeBron James needed only two letters to answer what stood out to him from Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

"KD," he said.

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He was asked to expand about Kevin Durant, the player he guarded for most of the game, after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91 on Thursday night.

"I mean, you take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled last year, that we saw in the regular season and in the postseason, and then in the offseason you add a high-powered offensive talent like that and a great basketball IQ like that, that's what stands out," James said. "I mean, it's no if, ands or buts. It is what it is. We got to figure out how to combat that."

This game, at the site of the Warriors' Game 7 humiliation to the Cavaliers last year, was supposed to be the first time the Warriors felt any real resistance this postseason. Instead, it felt like the start of a coronation for this reloaded superteam.

"We could be a lot better than we were tonight," Durant said, without a hint of sarcasm. "But in the Finals, you get the W, we'll take it."

In their nightmares the Cavaliers will see Durant sprinting down the middle of the court, and slamming down uncontested dunks. Durant unleashed the fury of nine years with no championships with one lopsided Finals appearance.

Durant finished with 38 points, 30 in the first three quarters, 23 in the first half. He also added eight rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. Warriors guard Stephen Curry finished with 28 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

James led the Cavaliers with 28 points, 19 in the first half, but eight turnovers. Kevin Love had 15 points and 21 rebounds.

Never before had two teams met in three consecutive Finals.

The Warriors won in six games in 2015 for the franchise's first title in 40 years.

The Cavaliers won a seven-game series in 2016 after trailing 3-1 in the series. They were the first team to recover from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, winning the first championship for any Cleveland professional team in 53 years.

This year, the showdown seemed inevitable.

The Warriors didn't lose a game in the first three rounds of the playoffs, becoming the first team since the 2000-01 Lakers to enter the Finals undefeated. They were the first team in NBA history to begin the postseason 12-0, dispatching Portland, Utah and San Antonio.

The Cavaliers dusted their opponents as well. The Pacers, Raptors and Celtics fell quickly, though Boston at least won a game.

Both teams entered with more than a week of rest.

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr watched the game from the locker room, unable to take the sideline due to complications from a back surgery that have sidelined him since the first round of the playoffs.

The first quarter seemed worthy of the lofty status both teams had earned.

Durant and James matched each other in a feisty duel. Once during the first quarter, Durant toppled James as he blew by him, then drove in for a dunk. Durant feasted when the Cavaliers overcommitted to the Warriors' three-point shooters.

"When Kevin Durant has the ball, you don't want to leave him and get to shooters," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

By the end of the first quarter, the Warriors led 35-30 and had 22 points in the paint to the Cavaliers' eight. They led Cleveland in second-chance points too,12-5. And they had turned the ball over only one time.

In the second quarter they extended that lead to eight.

In the third quarter they began treating the Cavaliers just like the teams they faced before them. The Cavaliers didn't score for the first 3:56 after the break, while the Warriors went on a 13-0 run to take a 21-point lead.

It was all too much for Cleveland to overcome, at least for one day. The Cavaliers will get two days off to decipher what happened and do what no team has done yet this postseason: fix it.

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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