The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals to take a commanding lead in the series, which is not out of the ordinary as the Warriors have started two wins to none against the Cavs in three of the four last Finals. Here are some notes regarding the series thus far:
-Steph Curry is the obvious choice for Finals MVP so far. Yes, it is only two games into the series, and as the Warriors know very well, anything can happen. But unless the Cavaliers were to come back and win the series, Curry has to be the odds-on-favorite. While he has had dominant moments in the Finals, his masterful play actually started at the end of the Western Conference Finals. Over the last three games (including Game 7 of the WCF) Curry is averaging 29.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field, 49 percent shooting for deep (on a staggering 14 attempts per game) coupled with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Curry has dished out 27 assists over the last three games, his highest mark since exactly a year ago, when he tore up the Cavs in the 2017 NBA Finals. Also this fun fact: Steph Curry has out-rebounded one of the Cavaliers' best rebounding big men, Tristan Thompson, in each of the Finals games thus far. If that sounds familiar, it is because last Finals, Curry had more boards than Thompson in three of the five games, and finished with more rebounds overall in the series.
-Kevin Durant's statistics from Game 1 and 2 were eerily similar from afar. In both games he finished with 26 points and nine rebounds, and six assists in Game 1 compared to seven assists in Game 2. But despite those consistent totals, his overall performance in both games could not have been more different. After struggling with his shot throughout the first game of the series, going eight for 22 from the field and one for seven from deep, Durant turned in one of his most efficient shooting games of the season in Game 2. Durant finished 10 of 14 from the field, and two for three from long range. His overall field goal shooting percentage for the game was his personal best since he played the Suns back on February 12th, and it was also the first time Durant shot above 50 percent from deep in a game since March 6th. Most importantly however, it was Durant's defense and assertiveness on the boards that was the biggest difference in the two games. In Game 1 Durant struggled to stay in front of attacking Cavs players, had moments of confusion and miscommunication with his teammates, and struggled mightily to box-out on the glass. Game 2 was a complete 180-degree turnaround, as he made his presence felt at the rim, fought for rebounds by being strong and aggressive, and stayed active and decisive in defending his man. Rather than Game 1, this game was an eerily similar performance to his showing last postseason against the Cavs when he won Finals MVP.
-After a lackluster series against Houston, the Warriors' role players have been much more productive so far in the Finals. Despite missing their best bench piece in Andre Iguodala, the 'Strength in Numbers' mantra has held strong against the Cavaliers. In Game 2, David West made his fourth shot from deep on the season (and first in over six months), JaVale McGee and Shaun Livingston combined to shoot 11 for 11 from the field, and the two have combined to miss only one shot in the series thus far (though it was quite a memorable one when JaVale ruined an easy dump/layup attempt) and finally Nick Young, who despite struggling badly with his shot in the last two games going one for nine, has now accounted for a combined plus/minus of +19 in 24 minutes on the court.
|Game 1||Warriors 124, Cavs 114 (OT)|
|Game 2||Warriors 122, Cavs 103|
|Game 3||Cleveland -- Wednesday, June 6 at 6pm|
|Game 4||Cleveland -- Friday, June 8 at 6pm|
|Game 5||Oakland -- Monday, June 11 at 6pm|
|Game 6||Cleveland -- Thursday, June 14 at 6pm|
|Game 7||Oakland -- Sunday, June 17 at 5pm|