OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Warriors in the NBA Finals was Game 3 of last year’s series. Golden State thrashed LeBron James and Co. Sunday evening during Game 2 110-77, leaving the Cavaliers facing a hole few teams have every climbed out of — with the series shifting back to the Midwest for Games 3 and 4, they will attempt to become just the fourth team in Finals history to win it all after facing such a deficit.
The win extends Golden State’s winning streak over Cleveland to seven games — the Warriors emerged victorious in Games 4, 5 and 6 of last year’s Finals, as well as both regular-season meetings this year.
Fans at Oracle Arena erupted early when center Andrew Bogut recorded four blocks during the first quarter. He rejected Kevin Love twice, LeBron once and denied Tristian Thompson on a flying dunk try. Bogut’s four blocks were the most recorded during a single quarter of the NBA Finals since Detroit’s Ben Wallace posted five during the 2005 Finals.
Draymond Green led the charge for Golden State in Game 2, scoring 28 points. Five of those shots were from three-point territory. He added another seven rebounds and five assists to his stat line. He shot 11 of 20 from the field. After the game, head coach Steve Kerr said the strategy the Cavaliers have been using has left Green wide open, allowing him to take advantage.
“The way they’re guarding us, Draymond’s open a lot,” Kerr said. “He becomes our safety valve when there’s pressure. He becomes an open shooter when they’re stepping out on Steph or Klay. So it’s a good situation for him.”
Curry was held under 20 points in two consecutive playoff games for the first time in two years, he scored 18. Fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson added 17 of his own.
“Our focus has been there,” Green said. “We’ve really locked in on the game play. The intensity level has been there.”
If the story of Game 1 was the Warriors bench coming to the rescure, the story of Game 2 was Golden State’s defense, which allowed Cleveland to score just 33 points in the second half of the contest. Cleveland’s 77 points were a result of the team’s shooting percentage, a lackluster 35 percent.
Up by just eight points at the half, the Warriors offense returned to the court and outscored the Cavs 58-33 during the second half while shooting 63 percent. Golden State’s second half offense was showcased during the third quarter when the Warriors went on a 30-16 run, courtesy of the efforts of Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala and the aforementioned Thompson.
For Cleveland, James finished the game with 19 points, likely a result of his subpar 7-of-17 shooting performance, nine assists and eight rebounds.
“It’s hard for me to kind of pinpoint what’s not working and what could work right now,” James said after the game. “Obviously, not much work is working, especially offensively.”
Cavaliers Coach Tyronn Lue was more direct. “They were tougher than us and more aggressive,” he said.
For most of the series, and last year’s NBA Finals, Kerr has used reserve Andre Iguodala to guard LeBron. The versatile forward has always played James tough, and has had an impactful role on his containment through these Finals. Lue said before Sunday’s game he wasn’t a believer in the theory.
“I think it’s random because they switch a lot of things and they switch it one through five so a lot of guys end up on him,” he said. “But as far as one-on-one, I don’t see (James) having a problem with Iguodala.”
As for the rest of the Cavaliers alleged Big Three, while James faced the most defense in the game, Kyrie Irving ended the night with just 10 points and forward Kevin Love missed five of seven shots before exiting during the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms.
Game 3 shifts to Cleveland on Wednesday.