Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sports

NBA Finals: Warriors go up 2-0 on Cavs

Durant, Curry, Thompson combine for 87 points

  • NBA-Finals-Cavaliers-Warriors-Basketball-9-2

    Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) and forward Draymond Green (23) celebrate during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

    Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif.  — Stephen Curry dribbled every which way and beat LeBron James to the rim in a move reminiscent of his recent MVP magic, and the Golden State Warriors grabbed a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals by downing the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113 Sunday night in coach Steve Kerr's return to the sideline.

Their leader and reigning NBA Coach of the Year back on the bench after a six-week absence, Curry and Kevin Durant tag-teamed the Warriors within two victories of another championship. Curry recorded his first career postseason triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Durant contributed 33 points, 13 rebounds and six assists while moving two wins from his first ring.

Golden State improved to 14-0 this postseason to keep alive a chance of becoming the first group to go unbeaten all the way to a title.

James was equally spectacular with his own triple-double of 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, but yet again didn't get nearly enough help to keep up with Golden State's depth despite Kevin Love's 27 points and 19 from Kyrie Irving.

Klay Thompson emerged from a postseason-long shooting funk to score 22 points with four 3-pointers while playing more stellar defense and pulling down seven rebounds for the Warriors, who shot 18 for 43 from deep.

The best-of-seven series now shifts to Cleveland for two games, with Game 3 Wednesday.

Kerr returned to the bench to a rousing ovation, waving to the fans while back on the sideline for the first time since Game 2 of the first round against Portland on April 19 because of pain issues stemming from complications after 2015 back surgery.

Curry provided the coach more than a glimpse of his greatness from up close after Kerr had been watching games from the locker room while speaking to his players beforehand and at halftime.

He ran circles around James during one masterfully skillful sequence, then drove left through the paint for a right-handed layup over the star's outstretched arm during a signature moment in another rout. James had little help as Love got there late.

Curry wore his emotions for everybody to see, willing the unblemished Warriors even when Cleveland went on a third-quarter run after that play.

Durant scored from every corner of the court. An off-balance KD flicked the ball up while falling backward and being fouled by Love and got a lucky bounce for a three-point play 7:04 before halftime just after Love had hit a 3 on the other end.

Now, Golden State is headed to Northeast Ohio needing just two more — yet don't count on anybody considering this series close to done. The Warriors squandered a 3-1 lead to the Cavs a year ago to miss a repeat.

“Well, it's been a great run but none of that matters unless we can finish the job with this series,” Kerr said. “Trust me, we know. It was 2-0 last year, we lost.”

Curry made all 14 of his free throws. He and Durant combined for 66 points and 18 assists in the opener, then dominated again while the supporting cast shined. Draymond Green had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists playing all game in foul trouble and Shaun Livingston scored 10 off the bench.

This time, Curry committed eight turnovers as Cleveland committed to putting more pressure on the ball to keep Durant from driving and dunking untouched as he did so many times in Game 1.

It didn't matter in the end.

“They won two games,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, “now we've got to go home and regroup.”


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