When the Warriors added Durant, JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West to a roster that blew a 3-1 Finals lead to James and fell short of a repeat last year, many wondered if they would have enough in the middle to defend the rim.
Durant, the celebrated (and/or ridiculed) off-season acquisition, tallied 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals in Game 2, making him the first player ever to post those numbers in a playoff game.
I can find fault with how they were in position to win this game, but Golden State scored the final 11 points. After the Cavaliers, who were led by impressive performances from LeBron James (39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists) and Kyrie Irving (38 points), had led for the final few minutes of the third and all of the fourth, it was Durant who led the Warriors back in the final moments. James bore a heavy burden of the blame for not driving to the basket down the stretch despite the Cavs scoring 46 points in the paint.
The Cavaliers will play for their post-season hopes on Saturday (AEST), when they face the Warriors in game four of the finals. LeBron had another strong start, then Irving worked his wizardry.
"He was the closer", said Irving. "For him the whole priority was his health and I think he's in a good place right now". Durant added two free throws to finish a personal 7-0 run that gave the Warriors a 3-0 series lead.
"We have to come out with an unbelievable focus and an unbelievable mindset, like we did", said Irving.
Midway through the second half of Game 2, the KVUE feed on DirecTV in Austin went blank.
Irving had a chance to stop the bleeding with a trey of his own but he had gone cold.
Showing off his ability to spin in shots high off the backboard, Irving scored 16 in the third quarter and the Cavs held the Warriors to 22 points in their lowest scoring output in any quarter in this postseason.
PCA is a non-profit national organization that operates under the mission statement "Better Athletes, Better People". Remember what Orlando general manager Otis Smith said after LeBron James decided to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami?
To this point, chapter three of Cleveland vs. Golden State, a Finals dubbed "The Three-Match" has been a mismatch. Except when you're playing the greatest team in NBA postseason history. "Kevin's leadershp in the Red Sox clubhouse allowed them to have some success". G Deron Williams has missed each of his 11 shots in the series.
That's an increase of 5 percent from the 18.6 million average in 2016. "I'm averaging a triple-double in the Finals. Anything can happen. So I don't want to relax or feel like it's over, it's not".
Kerr was convinced that they'd eventually wear down.
"We know this is far from over. I have the physical tools, but it's also about mentally knowing what to do".
Green famously lost his cool in Game 4 a year ago, pulling out the rug from the Warriors' march to the title. "That's just my personal opinion". With the Warriors, he had no choice. With unmatched firepower, the Warriors are pushing the pace and the Cavaliers to exhaustion. All the while, he stayed connected by talking with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, his mentor and former boss. Actor Michael Rapaport, a die-hard Warriors fan who was issued a media credential for the Finals, brought a broom and was heckled by some Cleveland fans.
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