The Cleveland Cavaliers put up a fight, again, through two quarters, and again, fell apart in the third due to an overwhelming effort from the Golden State Warriors in a 132-113 loss in Sunday’s Game 2.
The Cavs came out in the first quarter looking much more ready to play, but weren’t able to slow the Warriors offense down, primarily due to 10 first-quarter free throw attempts for Stephen Curry.
LeBron James was amazing in the first half, and finished with 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, but clearly was running low on fuel in the third quarter when the Warriors blew out their lead to 14 going into the fourth quarter. The rest of the team just wasn’t able to step up in that span as the rest of the roster went ice cold after a strong offensive half.
Kyrie Irving was a disaster early in this game, and it’s a wonder that the Cavaliers were able to stay in the game despite his poor play. It was fairly consensus opinion that Irving was going to have to be beyond amazing for Cleveland to have a chance in this series, and if he’s even just lukewarm.
The Cavaliers showed a pretty insane fight in this game. And the Warriors didn’t much care. Every time the Cavaliers got it within three or four points, Golden State rattled off a 8-2 run to put the game back out of reach. That’s the value of having an insane talent advantage, and make no mistake: the Warriors have an insane talent advantage in this series.
Kevin Durant is the second-best player in the world and this series is a showcase for what makes him so good. He finished with 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals.
He is an absolute terror on the defensive end, taking what used to be difficult Kyrie step-backs on Klay Thompson become insane Kyrie step-backs on Thompson with Durant’s outstretched arms in the way.
The Cavaliers won last year by gumming up the Warriors beautiful motion offense. They don’t even need to run that offense well to win this series if their shotmakers are on, and they were tonight.
The Cavaliers face the same situation they faced last year, falling down 2-0 heading back to Cleveland. As you may remember, they won Game 3, lost Game 4, and then rattled off one of the best three-game stretches we’ve ever seen to win the title.
This is not that Warriors team. The mountain to climb is steeper. There is no suspension coming, and there is no Harrison Barnes to ignore. The role players barely impact the outcome of the game. The job is easy, and they make it look easy.
Game 3 tips off at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night and the Cavaliers will try to make this a series.