Irrespective of the Game 1 result, Game 2 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors was going to be key. Despite being blown out by 22 in the Finals opener, the Cavaliers would have been happy travelling back to Cleveland with one win and stealing home-court advantage in the process. On the flip side, the Warriors were wary of the Cavaliers’ eminent bounce-back and wanted to bring their A-game in Game 2.
However, the most important story just prior to the tip-off in Game 2 was the return of Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr, who has been plagued with health issues, to the sidelines:
Just like Game 1, it was another intense competitive first quarter. Warriors led by six, 34-40, after the first 12 minutes behind Stephen Curry’s 15-point outburst. Cleveland was led by LeBron James, who continued his rise in the all-time Playoff standings by moving past Bill Russell for the most field goals made:
The Cavaliers responded in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 30-27 in the second period, capped off by Kyrie Irving’s halftime buzzer-beater. At the half, Cavaliers still trailed by three (64-67) led by James – 18 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was the stat sheet stuffer for the Warriors – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks.
In the third quarter, LeBron tallied his eighth Finals triple-double – tying Magic Johnson in the process for most ever, but just like Game 1, Warriors extended the lead in the period. Golden State outscored Cleveland 35-24 in the quarter.
By the end of the game, the Warriors’ domination was complete. Curry didn’t just record his first career Playoff triple-double, but he celebrated the milestone with a signature transition long three. Durant was a couple of steals away from a recording a 5×5 in this game. Klay Thompson found his stroke, scoring 22 points on 66.7% shooting – his highest shooting percentage in the 2017 Playoffs.
The Warriors were sloppy taking care of the ball, turning it over 20 times, but got it going on the offensive end. Golden State made 51.7% of their shots and assists on 34 of their 46 field goals.
For Cleveland, it’s back to the drawing board and the film room. Kevin Love had a recognition-worthy 27 points on 52.2% shooting, but as a team, the Cavaliers will be looking ahead to stepping foot on their home floor for Game 3 on Wednesday (Thursday morning IST).