Curry hits Finals record nine triples, Warriors go up 2-0

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 04, 2018 10:36 AM
Curry hits Finals record nine triples, Warriors go up 2-0
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with forward Kevin Durant during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry hit an NBA Finals-record nine three-pointers and scored 33 points, mixing in big shots with clever celebratory moves while leading the Golden State Warriors to a 122-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) for 2-0 lead.

Kevin Durant found his steady stroke to score 26 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists while also handling a load of the defensive assignment against LeBron James. Klay Thompson added 20 points playing on a tender left leg to put the defending champions two victories from a repeat title they have talked about since the season began last fall.

James followed up his 51-point performance in Game 1 with 29 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds in a far tamer finals sequel — and much more lopsided — minus the utter craziness of a drama-packed opener three days prior.

Game 3 is Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) in Cleveland.

Kevin Love had 22 points and 10 boards for the cold-shooting Cavs, who will now try to gain some momentum back home.

Curry had the shot of the night with 7:54 to play, making an off-balance swish from several feet behind the three-point arc over Love as the shot clock wound down, then backpedaled in pure joy. Curry fell into the first row of fans with a baseline three again over Love and four-point play at the 5:44 mark of the fourth.

James pointed with both hands after his triple with 11:04 remaining got his team within seven, before Curry answered from deep the next two trips down the floor. Curry squatted low to admire his shot as it went in at one point and galloped back in joy after he hit two deep three's late in the first half.

They had a tense moment in the third, too.

James became irate at the officials for a no-call on Curry, who ran beneath the Cavs star and didn't let him land with 3:54 remaining in the quarter as James caught Love's long pass and went out of bounds. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue was hit with a technical for arguing it.

JaVale McGee scored 12 points, making all six of his shots in his first career NBA Finals start as Warriors coach Steve Kerr made a lineup switch that proved spot on.

The typically efficient Durant connected on 10-of-14 shots after going just 8-for-22 — 1-of-7 on three's — in the opener but still scoring 26 points.

Last year's NBA Finals MVP made his initial five field goals Sunday (Monday, PHL time), driving right at James on offense and doing all he could to fluster him on defense.

James hit a triple over Durant's outstretched arm midway through the third, then Tristan Thompson's basket the next possession pulled the Cavs within 72-66. But they couldn't contain Curry and the rest of the Warriors for extended stretches.

The Warriors vowed to make it harder for James to generate good looks after he shot 19-for-32 in the series opener, and James went 12:06 of game time between made baskets.

James went 10-for-20, showing few signs his shot was altered by a bloodshot left eye. He had been taking antibiotics and using drops after being poked in the eye by Draymond Green in the first half Thursday (Friday, PHL time).

The Warriors earned a wacky 124-114 overtime win in Game 1 Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) — featuring J.R. Smith's blunder when he grabbed an offensive rebound in the waning moments of regulation and dribbled back toward halfcourt rather than shooting for the victory, and an overturned charge call against James.

Smith received rousing cheers from the home fans during pregame introductions and "M-V-P!" chants greeted him when he went to the foul line.

Thompson played after bruising his lower left leg when Smith slid into him in the first quarter Thursday (Friday, PHL time). The Warriors All-Star has never missed a postseason game.

Kerr went with seven-foot big man McGee to start in place of Kevon Looney — McGee's 10th career start in the postseason.

McGee scored the first four points of the game as Golden State made its initial seven shots and 10-of-11. That included Thompson's steal from James at the three-point line leading to Green's dunk moments later and a Cleveland timeout down 15-6 at the 8:14 mark.

McGee's five baskets through 26 minutes matched James' total.

Another key role player, Shaun Livingston, made his five field-goal tries for 10 points to give Golden State a lift in the first half after making all four of his shots Thursday (Friday, PHL time).

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: James' first-half line: 15 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, two steals. His first points — the first for Cleveland — came on a goaltend by McGee. ... After holding a 19-4 edge on the offensive glass in Game 1, the Cavs were 15-7 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time).

Warriors: Thompson played in his franchise-record 100th postseason game. He also became the sixth player to ever make 300 three's in the postseason, joining Curry as the Warriors to reach the feat. ... The Warriors were 13-of-15 from inside the arc in the opening quarter. They shot 59.5 percent in the first half despite going 6-of-19 on three's. They finished 15-for-36 from long range. ... Golden State is 13-3 in postseason Game 2's dating to the 2015 title run.

IGUODALA STILL OUT

Warriors forward Andre Iguodala missed his sixth straight postseason game nursing a bone bruise in his left knee.

Kerr remains optimistic the 2015 NBA Finals MVP will play at some point in the series.

"They're damn good with him and they're damn good without him," James said. "No matter offensively or defensively. Listen they've had a two-time MVP sit out playoff games and they've won, all right. They're good. They're great, actually."

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