Anthony Davis felt the Los Angeles Lakers "filled the void" left by LeBron James' absence in the 116-86 win over the Golden State Warriors.
James sat out Thursday's trip to San Francisco due to a sore groin, but All-Star team-mate Davis stepped up with 23 points and six rebounds.
"LeBron, when he's out, it's taking away a lot of things that we do," said Davis after helping his side to a seventh consecutive win.
"It's on all of us to make sure we try to fill those voids, and I think we did that.
"Usually when he's playing and he comes off the floor we kind of take a dip in all aspects of the game. We've got to play how we did tonight when he's playing and he's not on the floor.
"It's good for guys to get those reps. When he comes back we've just got to make sure we keep the same pace, same intensity even when he's not on the floor."
Defeated Warriors coach Steve Kerr conceded runs to the NBA Finals in each of the previous five seasons have taken their toll on his team.
Despite his absence, Kerr cited James as a remarkable example of how to cope with the rigours of going deep into the postseason year after year, although he can see the positives in missing out this time around.
"Watching LeBron, he looks refreshed, he looks recharged," said Kerr. "The idea of eight straight Finals in insane when you think about five here and what it's done and how our players have felt this past year and the injuries that have hit.
"I do believe that when all is said and done, by next year's training camp our guys should feel recharged and refreshed and ready to go.
"Hopefully that's the case. LeBron's also LeBron. He's built differently than most people."