Dubs’ Dynamic Duo Leads Warriors to Game 2 Victory
Golden State Takes 2-0 Series Lead in NBA Finals
The Warriors remained undefeated in postseason play after defeating the Cavaliers 132-113 in Game 2 of the Finals on Sunday night. Golden State was led by fantastic performances from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, who scored 33 and 32 points, respectively. Curry added 10 rebounds and 11 assists to record just the second triple-double in a Finals game in franchise history, while Durant became the fourth player in NBA Finals history to register at least 30 points and five blocks in a game. Klay Thompson added 22 points and seven rebounds, while Shaun Livingston and Ian Clark each notched 10 points off the bench. With the victory, Golden State takes a 2-0 series lead in the Finals.
Golden State had a different head coach manning the sidelines than they did in Game 1, but in the end, the result proved the same. Steve Kerr returned to coach his first game since April 19th, and the Warriors rewarded him with the most points scored by a team in a Finals game in 20 years.
Cleveland couldn’t have asked for a better start offensively, as the Cavaliers made each of their first five shots of the contest and took an early 11-6 lead on Kevin Love’s jumper just over two minutes into the game. Klay Thompson answered with five-straight points to knot the score, and after Love added another jumper, Kevin Durant tied it once more at 13-13 with 8:18 remaining in the opening quarter. LeBron James split free throws 24 seconds later to momentarily put Cleveland back in front, but Stephen Curry and Draymond Green responded with back-to-back three-pointers, and Golden State went on to lead for the rest of the night. Following a Tristan Thompson dunk, Zaza Pachulia and Curry provided consecutive scores before Durant drained his first three-pointer of the game to give the Warriors their first double-digit lead of the night at 26-16 with 4:52 left in the first frame. Curry wouldn’t convert another field goal in the quarter, but would make all 10 of his attempts from the free throw line to tie Sarunas Marciulionis’ franchise playoff record and Paul Pierce’s Finals record for most free throws made in a single quarter. Durant subbed back into the game after Draymond Green picked up his second foul with 29 seconds left in the quarter, after which he closed out the scoring in the frame with another three-pointer to give Golden State a 40-34 advantage at the end of one. It was the Warriors’ first 40-point quarter in a Finals game since scoring 41 in the first quarter of Game 6 of the 1967 Finals.
Green started the second quarter but picked up his third foul 11 seconds into it, forcing him back to the bench. Durant replaced him in the lineup, and followed David West’s jumper with one of his own to ignite a 7-1 Warriors’ run to begin the frame. After Kyle Korver stopped the burst with a three-pointer, Ian Clark knocked down a three-pointer of his own to rebuild Golden State’s 12-point lead, but they’d prove unable to extend their advantage beyond that through the remainder of the opening half. Cleveland responded with an 8-0 run of their own to pull within 50-46 with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter, but Durant halted their momentum with a three-point play on the ensuing possession in what would prove to be a sign of things to come. Just as the Warriors had trouble maintaining a significant cushion, so, too, did the Cavaliers struggle to crest the plateau. On six separate occasions through the remainder of the half, Cleveland made it a single possession game, only to have Golden State answer with a score each and every time. Durant scored with seven seconds left to increase the Warriors’ lead to five points, but Kyrie Irving’s layup as the quarter buzzer sounded trimmed their advantage to 67-64 going into halftime. The margin likely could have been greater if not for Golden State’s abundance of turnovers, as the Cavaliers turned the Warriors’ 13 first half miscues into 17 points.
Cleveland cut it to a one-point game twice within the first 90 seconds of the second half, but that’s as close as they’d get for the rest of the night. Durant was there with an immediate answer on both occasions, first with a jumper and then with a four-point play to ensure Golden State would remain in front. Following two free throws from James to make it a single-possession game for the final time, Curry splashed in another three-pointer to ignite a stretch in which he’d account for seven of the Warriors’ next 10 points to rebuild a double-digit cushion. James and Irving would combine for seven-straight points to pull the Cavaliers within 86-82 with 5:41 remaining in the third frame, but Shaun Livingston sank both free throws on the ensuing possession to ignite a 13-2 Golden State run in response to rebuild a 99-84 lead with just over a minute left to play. Curry would provide the Dubs’ final three points of the quarter with another three-pointer with 40 seconds remaining, as Golden State carried a 102-88 lead into the fourth and final frame. After totaling zero points, one rebound, two assists and three turnovers in the second quarter, Curry bounced back in a big way with 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and just one turnover in the third.
After Irving made a three-pointer to close within 108-97 at the 8:45 mark of the fourth quarter, Klay Thompson answered right back with a three-pointer of his own on the next trip down the floor, and Golden State ran away with the game from there. That trey ignited a 13-2 Warriors’ run over the next two minutes, the final six points of which came from back-to-back three-pointers by Durant and Curry to give Golden State their largest lead of the entire night at 121-99 with 6:20 remaining in the game. The Cavs responded with a 5-0 burst over the next 45 seconds, but the damage had already been done. Trailing 125-106 with 3:47 left in the contest, Cleveland pulled their starters, and the Warriors followed suit soon after as the two sides went to their reserves to finish off the game. Ian Clark converted a three-pointer with three seconds remaining to close out the scoring and provide the finishing touch on Golden State’s 132-113 Game 2 victory. It was the Warriors’ 18th three-pointer of the game, which established a new NBA record for most made threes in a Finals game.
Both Curry and James notched triple-doubles, marking the first time in Finals history that players on each team have recorded a triple-double in the same game. Now leading the series 2-0, the Warriors head to Cleveland for the next two games of the Finals, beginning with Game 3 on Wednesday.