Warriors make it two routs in a row over the Cavaliers in NBA Finals
LeBron James looked back at Stephen Curry as Curry shouted in celebration.
In the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 132-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night, Curry dribbled around trying to make a play, in the process forcing James to chase him from the three-point line into the paint. Then Curry drove in for a layup as James tried in vain to block it.
“It was a big moment, big momentum swing,” Curry said.
They were the two best offensive players on the court in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, but try as James did, he could not unseat the veritable All-Star team his Cavaliers faced. The Warriors took what felt like a commanding 2-0 lead over the defending champions with a second straight blowout victory.
James notched a triple-double, with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, tying Lakers great Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles in Finals history with eight.
But Warriors forward Kevin Durant scored 33 points and had 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals. Curry also had a triple-double — 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. And Golden State guard Klay Thompson, lately in an uncharacteristic shooting slump, finished with 22 points and seven rebounds.
The Warriors won despite committing 20 turnovers — three days after their 113-91 Game 1 victory in which Cleveland committed 20 turnovers.
They also improved to 14-0 in the playoffs — the longest postseason winning streak in NBA history — as they bid to become the first team to go undefeated in the postseason.
“They play well at home,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “They won the first two games like they’re supposed to. We knew it was going to be tough. . . . Now we got to go home and regroup.”
Warriors forward Kevin Durant, center, celebrates with Draymond Green, left, and Klay Thompson during the second half.(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reaches for a loose ball between Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, left, and center Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half.(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) throws up a shot against Golden State Warriors’ David West (3) in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Sunday.(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11) is defended by Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyle Korver (26) during the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Sunday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr, left, talks with guard Stephen Curry during the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Sunday.(Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
Warriors guard Stephen Curry prepares to shoot after shaking Cavaliers forward Channing Frye during the first half.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Warriors guard Stephen Curry acknowledges a teammate after scoring against the Cavaliers in the first half.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Cavaliers forward LeBron James is grabbed by Warriors center JaVale McGee on a drive to the basket during the first half.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, in his return to the bench after recovering the pain cause by a back surgery, talks to forward Kevin Durant during a timeout.(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
Warriors guard Klay Thompson looks to pass after tracking down a loose ball.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Forward Kevin Durant of the Warriors and Channing Frye of the Cavaliers battle for a rebound during the first half.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Cavaliers forward LeBron James tries to drive down the lane against a trio of Warriors defenders during the first half.(Ben Margot / Associated Press)
The night began with a warm welcome back to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who returned to the bench after an 11-game absence. Kerr has been dealing with pain associated with complications from back surgery.
“It felt great,” he said. “. . . It was just great to be on the sidelines again. That’s what makes it so much fun, to feel the energy of the Finals.”
Kerr’s wasn’t the only return the Warriors celebrated. Thompson awoke too.
A 45.4% career shooter, 41.9% from three-point range, Thompson shot below his overall average eight times in the Warriors’ first 13 playoff games. In Game 1 of the Finals, he made only three of 16 shots, though he did contribute a strong defensive performance.
With 4:06 left in the third quarter Sunday, Thompson hit a three off a Curry assist to put the Warriors up by 12.
“No matter if he’s making them or not, he’s still drawing a lot of attention because he can shoot well,” Durant said. “But I think his driving to the rim, his defense got him going, and knocking down his three. . . . All in all he just played with confidence.”
Their largest lead of the third was 16. Until then, James’ effort had kept the Cavaliers close. But as it was in Game 1, the third quarter offered the Warriors an opportunity to create some separation, and by the start of the fourth they led by 14.
It only grew from there. The Warriors showed the full might of their offensive firepower in the fourth quarter, opening a 21-point lead against a team that had entered the Finals 12-1 in the playoffs.
“It got a little out of control toward the end, but we’re not worried about that,” James said. “We made runs; we cut it to four at one point and then they went on a quick 9-0 run or 12-0 run. That’s what they do. . . . If you make a mistake — we had a turnover, it came from me, then we had a miscue and the floods opened again.”
Last year, the Cavaliers lost the first two games of the Finals at Golden State, dropping Game 2 by 33 points, but ultimately came back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the championship in Game 7 — perhaps a reason for optimism in Cleveland. But if that’s on James’ mind, he isn’t sharing it.
“I’m not a past guy too much,” he said. “I’m more of a present guy. So we just got to figure out how we can be better in Game 3.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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