The biggest news of the night was the return of head coach Steve Kerr, who had missed most of the playoffs thus far. It was a fairly unexpected announcement, but it was great to see him back out there and Oracle Arena did not disappoint in their welcome.
This one felt very similar to Game 1, in that the Cavaliers managed to keep it competitive for much of the game. But as they are wont to do, the Warriors exploded in the second half and took this one by nearly 20 points.
A key difference in this game, however, was turnovers. Having only given up four to Cleveland’s 20 in Game 1, the Warriors reversed roles with them for this one and gave up 20 of their own. Cleveland did try to capitalize on that, but it wasn’t enough.
There were some exceptional performances from players on both teams tonight, with two opposing players achieving triple-doubles. LeBron James was first to it, with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists. Stephen Curry followed that up with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Much of that was from the free-throw line where he shot a perfect 14-of-14.
First time in Finals history that players on each team have recorded a triple-double in the same game. (via Elias)— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) June 5, 2017
Kevin Durant had the stat line of the game, however, with a game-high 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and five blocks. Meanwhile, we saw the return of Klay Thompson on offense, in addition to his stellar defense, as he put up 22 points and snagged seven rebounds.
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. Considering their benches scored roughly even, this was how the Warriors really broke it open. And as usual, the third quarter was when they really broke it open.
The Warriors kicked off the first quarter with a made-three from Draymond Green, which I don’t think anyone was really expecting, considering Kerr’s return. Green would go on to shoot six of them, however, and make three, two in the first quarter alone.
Despite Cleveland going on an early 9-3 run, the Warriors quickly moved to tie it up. Partially assisted by a poorly thought-out foul by J.R. Smith to send Curry to the line for three shots. Klay Thompson looked good early, and with even more fouls on Curry, including another three-point foul, the Warriors were in position for a Durant three to make it a 40-point quarter.
The second quarter was less than ideal, however, as Green got his third foul and Curry had the majority of his turnovers early in the game. Curry would not score in the quarter, but the rest of the team rallied to keep the lead, going to the half up 67-64.
Durant started the third quarter with a quick six points, including a four-point play, but also received his third foul of the night. Curry would score 12 points, including a breathtaking breakdown on James that will be on highlight reels for years to come:
Thompson would make two of his four made three-pointers in this quarter, as the Warriors put up 35 to grow their lead to double digits.
The Cavaliers ran out of answers, they looked gassed in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Warriors continued to roll with Ian Clark getting seven of his 10 points of the night and Thompson, Durant and Curry taking turns making big shots. Even the fact that Green was pushing the limit with five fouls didn’t matter in the end.
That could've been the last game in Oakland this season. We'll see... pic.twitter.com/RAzKWXLSI2— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) June 5, 2017
As the series moves to Cleveland, an unprecedented 16-0 playoff run is possible. However, as last year showed us, you should never count these Cavaliers out. That doesn’t mean we can’t imagine it, though. What a blessing it is to be a fan of this team. Anything seems possible.