OAKLAND — Golden State Warriors fans have gotten accustomed to what happened Sunday at Oracle Arena. The waves of 3-pointers. The Draymond Green virtuoso performance. The opponent’s full surrender with more than half of the fourth quarter to play.
The 110-77 victory mirrored what became commonplace during a regular season that ended with a record number of wins. And against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2, it represented another step to securing the 73 Dubs’ status as the greatest pro basketball team of all time.
“We got two more wins before you can even consider saying that,” Draymond Green said, batting away a question about his team in historical context.
Green notched 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Klay Thompson made four-of-eight 3-pointers with five assists. Stephen Curry played just 24 minutes, contributing 18 points and nine boards.
Conversely, the Cavs appeared to give up midway through the contest: “They want it more than we do, that’s about it,” J.R. Smith admitted after the game.
Cleveland doesn’t have as much depth as the W’s, so the poor play of their stars was especially detrimental. LeBron James turned the ball over seven times, while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined to shoot 7-for-21.
“Eighteen turnovers once again for 26 points, I think it was 17 for 25 in Game 1. It’s just not good basketball,” James said after his first back-to-back losses since 2008.
The Warriors had an answer for everything. They contested 66 of the Cavs’ 79 shots, swarming and moving freely within head coach Steve Kerr’s defensive system. The result was a Cleveland offense that looked overmatched — at best — and produced the fewest of any Warriors postseason opponent since 1975.
“Our defense was the key to everything tonight,” Kerr said. “Our offense was not very good. We had a lot of careless turnovers (20 in total), but we had a good stretch there where we converted some stops into scores.”
Both teams played miserably through the first quarter. But with Curry on the bench in foul trouble for much of the second quarter, Golden State rattled off a 20-2 run that left the Cavs playing from behind the rest of the contest.
Another scoring spree in the second half — again with Curry seated — added insult to injury as the Cavs lost Love in the third quarter. Love left the game with concussion symptoms after taking an errant elbow to the back of the head by Harrison Barnes.
The Warriors know the series isn’t over and that they’ve merely held serve by beating the Cavs during the homestand. But it’s hard to ignore a pair of beatdowns by a combined margin of 44 points — the largest in NBA Finals history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
In their past seven meetings, the Dubs have beaten the Cavs by an average of 19 points.
“We don’t go in thinking, ‘Hey, man, we beat these guys seven times, we’ve got them. No. That’s not our mindset at all because immediately once that becomes your mindset, you’ll lose,” Green said. “… Our mindset is we took care of homecourt, now let’s get one on the road, maybe two, but let’s start with one.”