OAKLAND (KRON) — Golden State head coach Steve Kerr received a standing ovation as he walked out of the tunnel Sunday night in his first game back since April 19 and he immediately felt the fervor in Oracle Arena.
“It was just great to be on the sidelines again,” Kerr said postgame. “That’s what make it so much fun — to feel the energy of The Finals.”
The Warriors overtook the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113 to match their 2-0 start from last season’s championship series and are now 14-0 this postseason — the best mark in NBA history and the 14 wins is also a record for most consecutive wins in the playoffs.
When Kevin Durant was asked postgame to take a step back and consider what the commonality has been in each of the 14 wins thus far, he was firmly focused on the present rather than series past.
“I’m not going to take a step back,” Durant answered. “Like I said, we’re worried about the series right now, so we’re just trying to stay in the moment.”
Durant put up an eye-opening 33 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals and five blocks, joining Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan as the only players in NBA Finals history to record 30 points and five blocks in a game. Olajuwon and Kareem each did so twice.
Despite the former MVP’s historic numbers, Warriors fan were likely more excited to see splash bro Klay Thompson find his stroke with a 22-point effort on 8-12 shooting including four 3-pointers.
“It did feel good to see the ball go in,” Thompson said. “It started with getting to the basket early and taking good shots. If I do that, it’ll all even out.”
Thompson’s fellow splash bro Stephen Curry quietly picked up the first triple-double of his playoff career, logging 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
With a couple more turnovers, however, Curry would’ve had an unwanted quadruple-double. He recognized that being careless with the ball as the series shifts to Cleveland could be problematic.
“There’s an eight on the stat sheet that I need to correct when we go to Cleveland,” Curry said. “The points that I gave up off turnovers — in their building — will electrify the crowd and their team.”
Curry’s line alongside that of Lebron James’ (29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds) made them the first pair of opposing players to each record a triple-double in NBA Finals history.
James played a tremendous game and was the only Cavaliers player that created offense last night.
Starting point guard Kyrie Irving was kept in check, going 8-23 from the floor in 40 minutes and finishing with an atypical 19 points.
“They’re obviously trying to make a few other guys make plays,” Irving said. “When we’re coming off our isolations, they’re bringing a few more bodies to clog the lane.”
There were positives for Cleveland to take away from this loss as it forced Golden State into 20 turnovers while only giving up the ball nine times itself.
Points in the paint, steals and the shot total also favored the Cavs, but the outcome of the game is obviously what they care about.
But should they want to avoid a 3-0 deficit, something no team has ever come back from in a playoff series, guarding the perimeter will have to be a major emphasis as the Warriors made an NBA Finals-record 18 three-pointers, surpassing their 17-makes in Game 4 last year.
And though the Dubs were outshot 89 to 100, they converted on nearly 52 percent of their attempts.
Cleveland has to run Golden State off the perimeter and avoid switching screens as the mismatch isolation situations is what the Warriors are looking to create in their halfcourt offense.
Defense will dictate the winner of Game 3, just as it has in the first two games.
Tip-off is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in Quicken Loans Arena.
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