But that wasn’t enough.
The Cavaliers’ big three scorers in James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were outscored 97-75 by the Warriors’ big three in Curry, Durant and Thompson. “He’s been such a big piece of our success the last three years, obviously”, James said.
“The second half, we settled in and just tried to play better and played tougher on defense”, Durant said. Coming to a tough environment, we knew it was going to be tough, but they won the first two games. “Trust me, we know”. “They’re just kind of boneheaded plays that you are just like, ‘Oh, man, we can be better.’ Whether they’re speeding us up or whether they’re getting in our chest or challenging us, we need to hit back”. The Warriors are the greatest 3-year team in the history of the league, and just getting better by adding the second-best player in the National Basketball Association to their near-miss championship squad.
The former MVP accounted for five of Golden State’s seven blocks, three of their five steals and 11 defensive rebounds, a contribution that proved key with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Draymond Green in foul trouble and having to be used sparingly. And through two games, that pitch has borne out.
Never mind that Golden State followed up its opening-day work of art with another 19-point 132-113 rout of Cleveland in Game 2. With unmatched firepower, the Warriors are pushing the pace and the Cavaliers to exhaustion. James was excellent both passing and scoring. The best player in the world, and perhaps in basketball history, gave the greatest team in the world, and perhaps in basketball history, his best shot. “The game is too fresh”.
“The whole pregame process was all the same tonight, it was just a matter of him showing up on the bench and giving us that energy”, Curry said. The Cavs defended the arc in Game 1.
Those are the Cavs’ easy baskets and they’re only easy because James makes them look that way with his freakish combination of size, strength and skill.
It was only the second time in playoff history that rivals managed triple doubles in the same game, the other in 1970 by New York’s Walt Frazier and Milwaukee’s Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James scored 18 points in the first half with 10 assists, his most assists in any playoff half in his career.
Guard Stephen Curry had a triple-double of his own but also committed eight turnovers.
Kerr did not spare his players in assessing their victory, in which they imposed the second-most points surrendered by the Cavaliers all season.
He then received a huge ovation from the crowd before the game and got the performance he hoped from his team during it. “He has a great sense of humor”, Curry said before stopping himself.
Green is an emotional player and in several key moments past year he let those emotions get the better of him.
“It was just great to be on the sidelines again”.