From tip-off all the way down to the end of the first quarter you could tell Game 2 of the NBA Finals was going to be full of intensity.
Tough first half
In a hard-fought second quarter, though, the Warriors stole the show. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry all made momentum-changing 3-pointers. Also, Shaun Livingston was able to drain some shots in rhythm. The defensive pressure flipped a switch as well as every Warrior was attacking passing lanes and contesting shots in the half court. Likewise, the Warriors’ ball movement picked up the pace allowing them to space the floor more effectively. Draymond Green nearly took out LeBron’s other eye as well, which wouldn’t have been pretty.
Down 11 with four minutes remaining in the first half, James attempted a layup that Green was able to contest, forcing LeBron’s fourth miss in the second quarter. James was simply unable to score in the second period as he was missing layups he’d finish in any other game. Something felt off about James’ performance to close out the half. Ironically, he wound up scoring on two layup attempts that were much more difficult than the rest. That still didn’t help the case as the Cavs ended the half down 13.
Picking things up
Kevin Love hit two 3-pointers in the opening few minutes of the second half, bringing the Cavaliers within 10. In fact, he was one of the few Cavs to get in stride in the third quarter. James turned into an assist machine. Meanwhile, the Warriors continued to move the ball around and find open shot attempts.
Durant continued his torrid shooting by hitting 8 of 11 shots for 22 points. He shot a quick pass to David West for a 3-pointer to end the Warriors’ third-quarter explosion. The Warriors entered the fourth quarter leading 90-80.
The fourth quarter opened up with Curry hitting back-to-back 3-pointers in the first two minutes, the second coming after a made triple from James.
Curry was dialed in from the end of the third quarter, making his presence on the court scarier than earlier in the game. The Cavs were off target from distance and also fell victim to a couple of foul calls that worked out in the Warriors’ favor.
Curry hit a fade-away three as the shot clock expired at the eight minute mark and Durant hit a spinning fade-away jumper over George Hill shortly after. The Warriors led the entire game, and only hammered the coffin nails further as the time ticked away in the fourth.
It was when Curry hit an and-1 3-point shot that we knew this game was lost for Cleveland. Down 16, the Cavaliers were desperate for shooting they couldn’t get down the stretch.
With four minutes remaining, Tyronn Lue confirmed the Cavaliers’ surrender as he cleared the bench for the final few minutes.
Curry checked out of the game having shot 9 of 17 from beyond the arc for 33 points. He broke the record for made 3-pointers in the finals, an accomplishment none of us should be surprised by.
The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 122-103. The Warriors and Cavaliers meet for Game 3 on Wednesday, June 6 at 9 p.m.
Andre Iguodala remains without a firm timetable for return but has still impacted the Warriors from the bench.
JR Smith followed up a poor decision in the final seconds of Game 1 with a 2 of 9 shooting performance in Game 2.
Klay Thompson was battling a high ankle sprain and finished the game with an efficient 20 points.
LeBron James was one rebound short of a triple-double. Unfortunately, his performance was not enough to secure a win for his team before heading back home for Game 3.