warriors blaze past cavaliers in game 2, 132-113
The Warriors have seemingly breezed through the first two games of the 2017 NBA Finals. A 132-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night brought the Warriors to within two games of an undefeated postseason, and their second World Championship in three years.
Up 2-0, does this at all feel familiar?
As if you haven’t been reminded enough, both leading in to the series and since their Game 2 win, the Warriors were in the same position last year heading to Cleveland for Game 3 – up 2-0. Even after a 33-point win in Game 2 last year, they proceeded to lose four of the next five games and dropped the series to the Cavs…yada yada yada.
Yet, while the series shifting to Cleveland with the Warriors up 2-0 feels familiar, not much else does.
Game 2 this year saw reversals of Game 1 in at least two categories, with the Cavs taking more shots and forcing more turnovers than the Warriors. Nevertheless, the Warriors beat the Cavs and scored the highest point total in the finals in thirty years (the 1987 Lakers scored 141). The Warriors committed five times as many turnovers in Game 2 (20) than they did in the series opener, and the Cavs took 11 more shots in the second game. Those turnarounds were rendered moot as the Warriors set a finals record for three-pointers in a game with 18. Durant, Curry, and Klay Thompson – who finally got back on track offensively with 22 points on 75 percent shooting – each made four three’s while Draymond Green had three.
Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are only the second duo in finals history to average thirty points in the first two games. They’ve carried the Warriors offensively in this series, while Durant has even made his presence felt on the defensive end. His five blocks in Game 2 are the most by a single player in the first two games of the series.
So even while Cleveland shot better from the field in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, 45 percent to 35 percent, they still were only three-points closer to victory in a game where they lost by 19 points.
Why doesn’t this series feel like last year?
Number 35 for the Warriors. Even the Cavs have said it themselves. Kyrie Irving was just one player to frame the series in his own words.
“As much as the comparison wants to be drawn from last year to this year, this is a totally different [Warriors] team, “Irving said. “So, there is no comparison even though being down 0-2 again going back home.”
When Golden State needed a bucket late in the series last year, their options were a banged-up Curry and a streaky Thompson. They couldn’t come through when it mattered most, and they didn’t have a KD to turn to and say we need you to go get a bucket for us right now. Attention world, that guy is here now, and he’s been doing just that through two games – getting buckets. The Warriors three-headed monster is seemingly revved up and ready to go with Thompson’s reappearance, a scary proposition for a Cavs’ team seemingly without answers.
I was faced with a question this morning. I proposed it to myself in a moment of thought:
Would I rather see the Warriors sweep the series and ensure an undefeated postseason en route to exacting revenge for a Finals collapse last year, or would I want the Cavs to win a game or two and thus elongate the series to stave off the barren wasteland that is the summer sporting landscape for a few more days?
Without realizing I had already professed a desire for the Warriors to go undefeated in the playoffs (albeit to myself), I entertained the momentarily difficult question.
There’s no World Cup this Summer, no Olympics. The Stanley Cup Finals have at most three games left. What else even happens in June/July/August that are in the realm of sports? The Giants stink this year, so I can’t get in to them. Pre-season football? Big yawn. The dog days of summer are the black holes of the sporting world.
But in the end, a Cavs win or two would only put off the inevitable for another few days. With history on the line, I have to pull for a Warriors sweep. But hey, if they are going to lose at all, make it just one game so they can seal the deal at home in Game 5.
Sigh…That last paragraph eerily reminded me of a couple of pieces I wrote about the finals last year, with one in particular in which I cited the need for the Warriors to determine their parade path. Oops.
A possible three-peat was foiled, thanks in part to some premature sports writing. And yet it looks like I’m at it again. Lesson learned? Perhaps not, but remember, this year is different.
Warriors in five. Best regular season of all-time blemished with a finals defeat. Best postseason of all-time blemished with a single loss.
LeBron has to be good for one game, right?