After two games, it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers are overmatched. The Golden State Warriors ran them out of the gym in Game 2, coasting to a 110-77 win to take a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. Draymond Green led the way with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers, 63-41, in the second and third quarters to blow the game wide open.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson rebounded from sub-par efforts in Game 1 to put up 18 and 17 points, respectively, as each guard went 4-for-8 from deep. Curry played only 25 minutes.
LeBron James had 19 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals, but committed seven turnovers. It was the first time since 2009 that a James-led team lost Game 2 after losing Game 1. Kyrie Irving had a terrible night, scoring only 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting, and Kevin Love left the game in the third quarter with a head injury.
It was the Warriors' seventh consecutive win against the Cavaliers dating back to last year's NBA Finals.
Neither team looked comfortable early, and despite the Warriors crashing the offensive glass in the first quarter and getting zero points from James, the Cavaliers led 21-19 after one. With the help of their own version of the Death Lineup, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 28-22 lead early in the second, but the Warriors broke down the Cleveland defense with a 20-2 run over a five-minute stretch. Green was spectacular in the second -- his 18 points led the Warriors to a 52-44 lead at the break.
Even though Curry picked up his fourth foul early in the third, the Warriors poured it on. They took a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter thanks to the continued great play of Green, Thompson and Andre Iguodala, who had another great defensive performance against James. It didn't get any prettier in the fourth as the Warriors ended up building a 34-point lead as both teams rested their starters down the stretch.
The Warriors will have a chance to take complete control of the series in Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday. Here are three things we learned from Game 2:
Draymond Green continues to assert himself as a force
After struggling in the Western Conference Finals, Green has been superb through the first two games of this series. He followed up his 16-point, 11-rebound, seven-assist performance by going off for 18 points in the first half on Sunday. He ended the night with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and was a force on the defensive side of the ball for the second consecutive game. Green has always been the Warriors' emotional leader, but in the Finals he's been the team's best player -- especially when he's hitting his threes. He was 2-of-6 from three in the first game, and the Cavaliers were giving him open looks. He went 3-for-6 in the first half and 5-for-8 in Game 2. If Green is hitting his threes -- especially step-back bombs that left Curry speechless on the bench -- the Cavaliers don't stand much of a chance.
The Splash brothers are back, not that they're even needed
After playing poorly in Game 1, both Curry and Thompson showed up on Sunday. They only had 20 points combined in Game 1, then put up 20 in the first half of Game 2. Curry outplayed Irving, who couldn't do anything defensively for the second straight game, and Thompson hit shots when he was needed. The Warriors' explosive offense was firing on all cylinders thanks to precise ball movement and great shooting:
That's what should worry the Cavaliers the most -- we still haven't seen Curry or Thompson go off.
Cleveland might not want to speed up the pace
After saying they were going to play faster coming off just 89 points in Game 1, the Cavaliers continued to plod along in the first quarter. They led by two after 12 minutes. They sped things up in the second quarter, and it bit them. The Warriors blitzed the Cavaliers for 33 points in the quarter and took an eight-point lead. Part of the problem for the Cavaliers was that even though they sped up the pace, they still relied on an isolation-heavy offense. It's one thing to play quickly by moving the ball and putting a defense on its heels, it's another to go down the court and force a quick shot. The Warriors loved the frantic pace, their defense forced turnovers and it led to open buckets for the Splash Brothers. The Cavaliers pushed the Warriors last year because they overpowered them -- a return to that strategy may be the only chance they have.
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