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Curry, Warriors bomb Cavaliers for 2-0 lead

By JOE VARDON • Jun 4, 2018 at 2:08 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. — At least the Cavaliers can say they've been in this spot before with some notable cases of success.

They're down in the Finals, 2-0 to the Warriors, following Golden State's 122-103 win Sunday in Game 2.

This is the third time in four years Cleveland has trailed the Warriors after two games. In 2016, the Cavs came back and won it all in seven. They did the same in the conference finals last month to Boston.

So there's the silver lining. Nevermind that only 20 out of 301 teams trailing 0-2 in a playoff series have come back to win.

"Just because we're going home doesn't mean we can relax," LeBron James said. "This is the last team in the world you want to relax against."

In the meantime, the Warriors took advantage of a gift-wrapped Game 1 and a Cleveland defense that wasn't nearly as good in Game 2. The Cavs never led Sunday.

"I didn't think we started the game with physicality we did in Game 1," coach Tyronn Lue said. "It was too easy for them."

James finished with 29 points, nine boards, and 13 assists in 44 minutes — not coming out until there was 4:09 to go and the Warriors had it secured. James needed 20 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317 points) for second place in Finals history in points. He shot 10-of-20 and 7-of-9 from the foul line.

Stephen Curry is headed toward a Finals MVP. He scored 33 points with a Finals record nine 3s on 17 attempts, following up his 29 points from Game 1. He added seven rebounds and eight assists, and drained five 3s in the fourth quarter.

Curry's seventh 3 pointer came from behind the timeline as the shotclock expired — nothing short of a desperation heave — and of course splashed with 7:54 left for a 103-89 lead. He added a four-point play with 5:44 left for a 109-93 advantage. And that's that.

"I try all sorts of shots at some point or another, but at that point it's just feel and letting it go, and thankfully it went in," Curry said, speaking of his prayer 3, which he shot in front of Kevin Love. "A big moment where we had a significant lead, we could extend it a little bit and create some separation down the stretch. It was a cool moment for sure."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Curry was "tremendous."

"You know, nine 3s and seemed to hit the big shot every time we needed one," Kerr said.

Kevin Durant added 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, with nine boards and seven assists. Klay Thompson, playing despite a dreaded high ankle sprain, scored 20 points. JaVale McGee started instead of Kevon Looney and added 12 points and Shaun Livingston contributed 10 points off the bench.

Livingston and McGee were a combined 11-of-11 from the field. The Warriors shot .573 from the field and connected on 15 3s.

"They're a dangerous ball club no matter what," James said. "It starts with those four guys, obviously, the four All-Stars. Everyone else just does their job and they don't miss a beat."

Love enjoyed a good second half and finished with 22 points and 10 boards for Cleveland. George Hill shook off his missed free throw that could've won Game 1 to score 15 points. Tristan Thompson added 11.

JR Smith, one of the goats from Game 1 (you know, the whole dribbling out the clock thing after Hill's miss with the score tied?), shot 2-of-9. Warriors fans were chanting "MVP" at Smith and gave him a loud cheer when he was introduced before the game.

Just mean.

The Warriors made their first seven shots, and six were layups or dunks. They ran off 22 points in the paint in the first quarter alone and led by as many as nine, but the Cavs trailed just 32-28 when the first quarter was over.

Curry already had 16 points and four 3s and was shimmying by the end of the first half (although, Curry's gyrations looked more like convulsions than anything else). The Warriors were 25-of-42 from the field (.595), and most of it was so easy. They were 19-of-23 from inside the 3-point line and 11-of-12 at the rim. Durant added 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Golden State's lead was 59-46.

The Cavs shot .348 from the field in the half and 6-of-23 in the second quarter. Most notably, Love was 2-of-10. James almost had a triple double in the first half (15 points, seven rebounds, eight assists).

Three times the Cavs cut their deficit to five points in the third quarter. Love finally got it going and scored 13 points with three 3s. But David West, who hadn't made a 3 since Nov. 4, connected on one with four seconds left and the Warriors led 90-80 through three.

"I was very proud of our guys, the way we competed in that third quarter because we could have let go of the rope down 13," Lue said.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals is at 9 p.m. Wednesday at The Q.

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