Culture of Hoops

Warriors Roll in 132-113 Game 2 Victory

Image Courtesy of Reuters

Image Courtesy of Reuters

The Golden State Warriors turned what was once a competitive Game 2 matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers into a bloodbath. Down by merely three points at halftime, the Cavs ended up being destroyed as the Warriors won by a 132-113 score. Game 2 also marked the return of Steve Kerr who had been out since Golden State’s opening round series.

The Warriors did have 20 turnovers in this contest, far from the four-turnover display of Game 1. They shot nearly 52 percent from the field, 42 percent from deep, and went 22-24 from the line. The Cavs were 45 percent from the floor, about 28 percent on triples, and were 15-19 on free throws. They only had nine turnovers.

LeBron James dominated early on, relentlessly driving and scoring in the paint. He was superhuman during his line of 29/14/11 before fatigue seemed to sink in. James was far less aggressive with his drives in the second half. Overall, however, James was stupendous.

This wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the performances of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson. Durant had 33 points and 13 rebounds to go with six blocks and five assists. There was a particularly memorable sequence in the second half that featured Durant blocking a Kevin Love post-up shot – Durant followed the block by driving for an off-balance, floating bank shot over Love and James.

The back-to-back MVP Curry had eight turnovers and an inconsistent shooting display, but he nevertheless marvelously posted a 32-11-10 triple-double and went 14-14 from the line. And even though Curry went just 4-11 from deep, the threes that he did manage to drill were devastating backbreakers for Cleveland.

Curry also put James on ice skates before finishing for a layup in a moment that showcased an array of dribbling skills and was a strong enough play to earn the number-one spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10. Curry’s explosion of emotion after the play only added to the frenzied joy of Golden State’s home crowd.

Bouncing back from a rough stretch of poor offense, Thompson dropped 22 points on 8-12 shooting (4-7 on threes) for the Warriors. His defense has been stellar throughout the playoffs – it just seemed like a matter of time until his shot roamed in the same level as his defensive energy.

On Cleveland’s end, Love did all he could to help James, dropping 27 points on 12-23 shooting. Tristan Thompson was horrific for the second straight contest, posting a meaningless eight points and four rebounds. An even worse performer for Cleveland was J.R. Smith who went scoreless in 14 minutes. Kyrie Irving was also quite poor and deserves criticism for his 8-23 shooting game that was accompanied by terrible defense against Curry.

For all of his flash and individual excellence on offense, I’ve noticed that Irving doesn’t receive much criticism from the media or television analysts following poor performances. I enjoy watching him play, but some stars would be roasted if not ripped to shreds after two straight weak overall Finals games that resulted in losses. Merely a random but interesting thought.

As many will note, the Warriors were up 2-0 on the Cavaliers in last year’s NBA Finals. That didn’t prevent Cleveland from taking home the hardware. However, with Durant in the fold and excelling at a world class level to go with Curry’s outstanding play and health, overcoming this 2-0 gap seems like a substantially more difficult task.

Until Game 3, we wait. That will occur in Cleveland on Wednesday, 6/7 at 9:00 PM ET.

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