OAKLAND, Calif. – Inspired by the return of head coach Steve Kerr, the Golden State Warriors ran away with Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“It was just great to be on the sidelines again,” Kerr said. “That’s what makes it so much fun, to feel the energy of the Finals. And so it’s really nice to be back.”
It certainly was for the Warriors, who scored 40 first-quarter points – including 10-of-10 free throws by Stephen Curry – to take a six-point lead and never looked back.
The rapid pace played right to the Warriors’ strengths, but they were far from perfect in the first half, turning over the ball 13 times – which led to 17 Cavs points – and having some trouble with cheap fouls. Draymond Green had three fouls, and Curry and Klay Thompson had two each by halftime with the Warriors leading 67-64.
Kevin Durant, the hero of Game 1, was once again excellent, hitting four 3-pointers, grabbing 13 rebounds, blocking five shots and scoring 33 points. Curry did his best to keep up with his fellow former league MVP with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, but he did have eight turnovers – six in the first half.
LeBron James did all he could to keep the Cavs close in the first half, relentlessly attacking the basket, attempting no 3-pointers and recording 18 points, nine assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. He finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, tying Magic Johnson’s Finals triple-double record at eight.
The Warriors seemed to win the battle for loose balls, exploited their depth advantage by playing seven reserves and had the edge on the glass, finishing with a 53-41 advantage.
Thompson’s stellar defense on Kyie Irving continued but Thompson showed some life on the offensive end as well, shooting 8 of 12 for 22 points after struggling in Game 1. After a sluggish start that included four points and three turnovers in the first quarter, Irving didn’t get much better, scoring 19 points on 23 shots.
Kevin Love hit 12 of 23 shots and two 3-pointers, finishing with 27 points and seven rebounds and continuing a fine postseason in which he entered the game shooting 47.7 percent from 3-point range and 44.5 percent from the floor.
The series shifts back to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. [/restrict]