Somehow, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in worse shape than a year ago. Much worse.
LeBron James is healthy and Kyrie Irving too, but the Cavaliers were swamped again by the Golden State Warriors, 110-77, Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Draymond Green scored 28 points on a night Golden State led by 20 after three quarters despite limited input from NBA most valuable player Stephen Curry, who battled foul trouble.
This would be considered a bad development for Cleveland, one of many.
James had seven turnovers and airballed a three-point shot in the third quarter that delighted the Oracle Arena crowd. He finished with 19 points and nine assists.
The Cavaliers shot abysmally again, 35% on Sunday after 38% accuracy in a 15-point Game 1 loss.
Adding to Cleveland’s deepening woes, Kevin Love left in the third quarter after getting accidentally elbowed in the head in the second quarter by Warriors forward Harrison Barnes. He complained of dizziness and was placed on the NBA concussion protocol.
Game 3 is Wednesday in Cleveland, otherwise known as the Cavaliers’ last stand. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.
“I got myself in a lot of trouble tonight, personally,” James said. “I had basically half our turnovers when I came out, and it resulted in them getting some easy baskets. I’ve just got to be more solid.”
This was markedly different from a year ago, when Cleveland tied the Warriors after stealing Game 2 here without injured starters Irving and Love. Cleveland headed back home and even took an improbable 2-1 lead as James scored 40 points and Matthew Dellavedova proved to be more than just a hardcourt pest.
More Cleveland trouble this time was discovered in the big-picture stats — James’ teams had won nine consecutive Game 2s after losing Game 1 of a playoff series. There wasn’t a 10th.
The window was opened a crack Sunday when Curry left early in the third quarter with his fourth foul. The Cavaliers trailed by 10 at the time but there would be no push as Green kept scoring, Klay Thompson made a 29-foot three-pointer and reserve guard Leandro Barbosa had another solid game (10 points on five-for-seven shooting).
Already, there were questions whether this Warriors team was the best of all time.
“We are better than the ‘Showtime’ Lakers,” Thompson said with a smile, knowing his father, Mychal, played for them back in the day.
Curry, in his limited time, scored 18 points and added four assists.
Green was the key, undoubtedly, making five of eight three-point attempts and adding five assists. Maybe soon he can apply to be one of the slick-shooting “Splash Brothers,” a reporter surmised.
The NBA’s defensive player of the year runner-up, the 6-foot-7 Green can play anywhere along the front line. He can also score, in case Cleveland wasn’t aware before Game 2.
“The way they’re playing defense against our guards, Draymond’s going to be open all day,” Golden State Coach Steve Kerr said.
Love exhibited no concussion symptoms at halftime but looked “woozy” during a third-quarter timeout, said Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue, adding Love was “day to day.” Love had only five points and three rebounds in 20 minutes.
The Cavaliers have existed for 45 years without an NBA championship, another hole in Cleveland’s downtrodden sports history. If there isn’t quick improvement, make it 46 years.
1:45 p.m. An earlier version of this article mistakenly said that Draymond Green was the NBA’s defensive player of the year; Green was the runner-up for the award.