If the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to defend their title, they’ll have to overcome a major series deficit.
The Golden State Warriors continued their flawless run through the postseason with a 132-113 Game 2 win Sunday, building a 2-0 lead in the 2017 NBA Finals over Cleveland.
Although LeBron James notched his second triple-double of the postseason, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were nearly unstoppable, combining for 65 points in the high-scoring battle.
Golden State didn’t miss a beat with Steve Kerr returning as head coach for the first time since the opening round of the playoffs, notching its 14th straight postseason victory.
James did everything he could to help the Cavaliers steal a game on the road, finishing with 29 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds and three steals. This first-half dunk showed his ability to attack the basket:
However, he wasn’t the only superstar who put on a show Sunday night. Kevin Durant was outstanding on both ends of the court, finishing with 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals.
The performance wasn’t lost on viewers:
Tim MacMahon of ESPN made a bold statement watching the back-and-forth battle:
Durant’s spectacular performance was almost enough to overshadow Curry, who had his first career playoff triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Per NBA on ESPN, Sunday was only the second time in NBA history that opposing players finished with triple-doubles in a playoff game.
This basket against James was also one of the most memorable plays of the win:
Cleveland was efficient offensively but couldn’t keep up with the Warriors for the second straight game.
The two offensive juggernauts put on a show from the opening tip, with the Warriors rolling out to a 40-34 lead in the first quarter behind 15 points from Curry.
Mitch Goldich of Sports Illustrated noted how rare the scoring output was for Golden State:
The Warriors appeared ready to pull away once again in the second quarter, but the Cavaliers fought back to keep the deficit at three going into halftime.
Durant and James put up huge numbers in the first half:
The Warriors gained some breathing room in the third quarter, as Klay Thompson finally started making plays after being relatively quiet the last few weeks. He finished with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
As the home team continued to score in droves during the fourth, Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1 described the problem for Cleveland:
Kyrie Irving finishing with only 19 points on 8-of-23 shooting also didn’t help. Even with Kevin Love adding 27 points, the Warriors were able to close out the 19-point win.
The Cavaliers trailed Golden State 2-0 in last year’s NBA Finals, eventually falling into a 3-1 hole before making their historic comeback. It won’t be easy to replicate that feat in 2017, however.
Cleveland will first have to turn things around at home in Game 3 Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. With another loss Wednesday, this series could effectively be over.
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