For three quarters, it seemed Game 2 could have gone either way. The second installment to one of the most
predictable anticipated NBA Finals in history started like a game of tug-of-war, each side testing the other’s strength first.
But it ended how many expected: the Warriors were just too fast, too accurate, too smothering defensively and, in the end, up 2-0 on the Cavaliers, now only two wins shy of their second championship ring in three years.
Their win was solidified with 3:47 in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors ran up a 125-106 score, prompting Cavs’ head coach Tyronn Lue to wave the white flag and send his second unit in. Golden State finished the deal with a score of 132-113 at the end of the fourth.
To get there, the Warriors absorbed some of Cleveland’s best shots.
LeBron James recorded his eighth career triple double of the NBA Finals, tying a mark Magic Johnson set during his tenure with the showtime Los Angeles Lakers. He had 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting and was the driving factor in the Cavaliers’ keeping the game close through three quarters.
As was Kevin Love, who bounced back from a 4-of-13 shooting night in Game 1 for an 27-point outburst in Game 2. Together, the pair of Cavs All-Stars quelled Warriors’ runs in the second and third quarters.
But it wasn’t enough for a Warriors’ team that was hot all-night long. It started with Kevin Durant, who followed his 38-point Game 1 with a 33 points and four threes in Game 2. He made shots that should never have gone in, and was a menace defensively, picking up five blocks and three steals.
That effort trickled down to Stephen Curry, who picked up a triple double with 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 2. He made all 14 of his free throws and helped push a pace that tired the Cavs out through three quarters.
Golden State also got a bounce-back game out of Klay Thompson, who poured on 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. They say shooters have short memories, and that proved true for Thompson, who made four of his seven threes after shooting 3-of-16 in Game 1.
Together, the Warriors’ Big 3 scored 87 points to Cleveland’s 75. Golden State watches the series swing to Cleveland for pivotal Games 3 and 4, and in front of the Cavaliers’ hometown fans, they’ll face their toughest task yet.
But if anything was clear after Game 2, it’s that the Warriors are up to challenge.