The Warriors are halfway to their second NBA title in three years after knocking off the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
After leading by three at halftime, the Warriors used a huge third quarter to extend the lead to 14, and continued to build for a 132-113 victory at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Cavs were relentless offensively in the first half with LeBron James getting to the basket whenever he wanted, but for the second straight game Stephen Curry heated up in the third quarter — this time scoring 12 in the frame — to put the game out of reach.
Curry posted his first career playoff triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Durant had another mind-boggling stat line with 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals.
James had a triple-double in the loss, with 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. It was LeBron’s eighth NBA Finals triple-double, tying Magic Johnson’s record. Kevin Love added 27 points and seven rebounds, while Kyrie Irving struggled his way to 19 points, shooting 8-for-23 from the field.
The Warriors are still undefeated in the playoffs — 14-0 — and take a 2-0 lead to Cleveland for Wednesday’s Game 3. They also set the record for the most consecutive playoff wins.
Things certainly aren’t looking good for the Cavs but, in case you may have forgotten, the Warriors had a 3-1 lead in last year’s Finals before the Cavs came back to win. Here are some takeaways from Game 2.
There’s just too much
If I had a nickel for every time the phrase, “there’s just too much” was uttered by my CBS Sports colleagues during Game 2, I’d be able to afford the chains that Von Miller was wearing at Oracle.
Seriously though, there’s no other way to describe the onslaught that the Warriors have brought to the first two games of the Finals. If it’s not Durant dunking in transition, he’s hitting a fadeaway with the defender right in his face. If it’s not Steph Curry hitting a 3-pointer from 30 feet, he’s putting LeBron James on skates and flipping in a layup off the glass. And just for good measure, Klay Thompson decided to wake up, adding 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. It just seems, no matter how well the Cavs play, the Warriors just continue to have bigger and better weapons.
Where’d you go, Kyrie?
Whatever hole Klay Thompson crawled out of, it was quickly filled by Kyrie Irving. The Cavs’ second-best offensive player was silent for large stretches of the game, finishing with 19 inconsequential points on 8-for-23 shooting. Part of the reason the Cavs were able to beat the Warriors last year is that, at times, Kyrie and LeBron were the two best offensive players on the court. In this year’s Finals, Kyrie has been closer to fifth, even outplayed by teammate Kevin Love. Expect Kryie to bounce back at home in Game 3 — if he doesn’t, this is going to be a short series.
Best team ever?
No team has ever won 14 straight NBA playoff games, let alone in the same postseason. If — and it’s a huge if — the Warriors can go 16-0 to win the NBA title, you have to give them serious consideration as the best NBA team of all time. The Cavs will obviously have something to say about that, but if we get two more blowouts like we’ve seen in the first two games, the debate begins in earnest.
The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead
Never forget. As great as the Warriors have looked, and as outmatched as the Cavs appear to be, there’s always that familiar fallback: The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead … just last season. These are very different teams, but we’d be silly to count out the Cavs at this point in the series. At the end of the day the home team has won the first two games, which isn’t all that surprising. If Cleveland manages to win Game 3, all the talk of last year’s collapse will add pressure to Golden State that they haven’t had to deal with thus far.