OAKLAND, Calif. — For the better part of three quarters, the Cavaliers fought with the heart of a defending champion, battling to assert themselves and prove they aren’t going to be one-and-done. But with Klay Thompson coming alive at the offensive end to partner with Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ firepower was too much to overcome.
Durant, Curry and Thompson totaled 87 points as the Warriors turned a hard-fought Game 2 of the NBA Finals into yet another blowout win, 132-113, on Sunday night at Oracle Arena. It was their NBA-record 14th straight playoff win.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who missed the previous 11 games with back pain, returned to the bench without a glitch. Before the game, he compared Thompson to a slumping batter who was hitting line drives right at fielders as a precursor to a breakout. How prophetic.
“I just felt like he was poised to come out and make some shots, and he did,” Kerr said. “And his defense again was tremendous.”
The Warriors, who took a 2-0 lead in the series before it heads to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday night, built a 102-86 lead near the end of the third quarter. The Cavs got within 11 at 108-97 but then got hit with a three-star combination KO punch in a 13-2 Warriors run.
Thompson ignited it with a three-pointer followed by another jumper. Then Durant had the crowd roaring when he blocked Kevin Love at one end before hitting a falling-down jumper at the other and adding a three-pointer for good measure. Finally, Curry hit another three-pointer for a 121-99 lead, and the celebration was on.
Speaking of Durant’s spectacular plays in that sequence, Draymond Green said, “That’s the luxury you have with K, where he gets a block, he gets the rebound, he don’t have to give the ball to nobody, he can go to the bucket. That was a huge play for us. That’s where we kind of closed the game out.”
Curry had a triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Durant totaled 33 points and 13 rebounds and Thompson added 22 points and shot 8-for-12. The Warriors shot 41.9 percent from three-point range (18-for-43).
“The game changed quite a bit tonight from Game 1. They made a lot of adjustments,” Kerr said of the Cavs. “They put us on our heels and we were able to respond.”
The Cavs’ LeBron James had a triple-double with 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. Love added 27 points and Kyrie Irving had 19. But the Warriors held them to 27.6 percent shooting from three-point range (8-for-29).
Unlike Game 1, when the Warriors had a Finals-record low with four turnovers, they coughed the ball up 20 times (eight by Curry), leading to 23 Cavaliers points. The Cavs couldn’t recover from their 20 turnovers in Game 1, and they couldn’t capitalize on the 20 they forced in Game 2.
“Our focus the last two days was, ‘Can we repeat the formula?’ ” Kerr said. “The answer was no. Tonight was a game based on talent. We had a lot of guys who played exceptionally well individually. But if we play that same game in Cleveland, there’s no way we win.”
The Cavs had the early physical edge and trailed 67-64 at halftime after forcing 13 turnovers and building a 16-point cushion in points in the paint. They showed resilience by surging back repeatedly from double-digit deficits to get as close as one point, but they couldn’t keep pace with the Warriors.
“Every mistake you make defensively, they make you pay, and you saw that tonight,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “They play well at home. We get a chance to go home to our home crowd, where we play well also. They won two games; now we’ve got to go home and regroup.”