Green catches fire as Warriors rout Cavs for 2-0 NBA Finals lead

Agence France-Presse
Green catches fire as Warriors rout Cavs for 2-0 NBA Finals lead
(UPDATED) Draymond Green, who was feeling it from the get-go, connects on 5-of-8 3-pointers

Humbling the Cavaliers in the second half, Golden State seized a 2-0 edge in the best-of-7 series, which shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 Wednesday and Game 4 Friday.

(HIGHLIGHTS: 2016 NBA Finals Game 2 – Cleveland vs Golden State)

“It’s a fabulous position with everybody playing their best,” NBA scoring champion Curry said. “We’ve got to keep our focus and not forget how we got here.”

But only 3 teams in NBA history have overcome a 2-0 deficit to win the finals – the 1969 Boston Celtics, 1977 Portland Trail Blazers and the 2006 Miami Heat.

Combined with their 104-89 romp in the opener, the Warriors produced the largest two-game combined victory margin to open an NBA Finals, 6 more points than the old mark of 42 by the 1950 Rochester Royals and 1961 Boston Celtics.

The Warriors stretched their overall win streak against Cleveland to 7 games, including the last 3 of last year’s finals, two more this season and two more in this championship series.

LeBron James, who led Cleveland with 19 points, has never lost so many in a row to any club. He was 9-0 in prior playoff game twos after his teams dropped the opener.

The 4-time NBA Most Valuable Player is in his sixth finals in a row and seventh overall but has won only two titles.

Golden State, which set an NBA record with 73 wins this season, matched the combined season and playoff win record of 87 set by the Chicago Bulls, improving to 50-3 overall, including 11-1 in the playoffs.

For the first time in his career, James was kept scoreless in the first quarter of an NBA Finals game.

Curry and Klay Thompson, who had 17 points, each went 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

Love injured 

The Cavaliers lost forward Kevin Love early in the third quarter to dizziness. Love had taken a hard elbow to the back of the head from Harrison Barnes in the second quarter. He was put into NBA concussion protocols and did not return.

Kyrie Irving cut Golden State’s lead to 52-46 to open the third quarter but a 17-7 Warriors’ run followed as Curry, Green and Thompson each hit 3-pointers and a Green layup capped the spurt for a 69-53 Warriors edge.

James fired an airball midway into the frustrating period while Curry was on the bench much of the time, the 3-point record setter laughing and smiling as teammates scored from beyond the arc.

Led by Green and Thompson, Golden State ripped off a 19-7 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth for an 89-62 edge, sealing Cleveland’s fate.

Green scored nine of his 18 first-half points in a 20-2 Warriors’ run that helped Golden State to a 52-44 half-time lead, netting a career Finals high in just 24 minutes.

After a James slam dunk gave Cleveland a 28-22 lead, Golden State jumped ahead 42-30 with Green hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and making a 3-point play to conclude the run, which included five points by Thompson and four from Curry.

Another 10-2 Warriors run, featuring five points from Curry, put Golden State ahead 52-37.

The 15-point gap was a crucial mark as James has never won a road playoff game when his team falls behind by so many, while the Warriors went 120-1 over the past two seasons when up by 15 points at any stage.

Before the tip-off there was a moment of silence in memory of Muhammad Ali, the iconic boxer and human rights champion who died Friday. – Jim Slater, Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com


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