NBA Finals: Takeaways From Game 2
The Golden State Warriors took a 2-0 lead as the NBA Finals now heads to Cleveland. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to go home with a 1-1 tie. For much of the game it looked like that might happen as the Cavs kept it close, but the Warriors ended up pulling away for a 132-113 lead.
The Warriors were up 2-0 in last years Finals, but then Cleveland won game 3 to cut the series lead to 2-1. Golden State won game 4 to go up 3-1, and we all know what happened after that. After watching the first two games of this NBA Finals, I don’t think that’s going to happen again.
Every game of a series is different. You can tell a lot about a team from one game to the next. In game 1 I had 4 main takeaways, which you can read about in my post, “NBA Finals: Takeaways From Game 1.” Game 2 had a similar outcome, but I have some different takeaways this time.
1. Even a superhuman LeBron isn’t going to beat this Warriors team
LeBron James came out attacking in this game. The Cavaliers had an early lead, and they kept it close for the entire first half. The third quarter is when the Warriors pulled away. LeBron James finished this game with 29 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. James shot 12-18 (66.7%) from the field and had a triple-double, but the Cavs still lost by 19 points. There’s not a whole lot more LeBron could have done in this game. He played well the entire game, but he still didn’t get the help he needed. Unless LeBron has another level above superhuman, the Warriors are winning the title.
2. Klay Thompson is Kyrie’s kryptonite
Kyrie played an okay game in game 1, which I thought might have just been an off night for the young star. In game 2, I realized that it wasn’t an off night, it was Klay Thompson. Thompson smothered Kyrie. Kyrie was held to 19 points on 8-23 (34.8%) shooting. That’s nowhere near the Kyrie we saw last year in the Cavs title run. Thompson didn’t allow Kyrie to get into any sort of rhythm. The Warriors might be in some trouble if Kyrie gets hot, but Thompson has done everything within his power to make sure that hasn’t happened.
3. Iman Shumpert needs to guard Durant full time
I realize that Durant has about 5 inches on him, but when I saw Shumpert guarding Durant, I thought he did a better job than LeBron James. Durant still got his points, but I think Shumpert gave a better effort. No matter what he does, Shumpert isn’t going to stop Durant, but he can make things a little harder for him. I thought Shumpert gave a great effort in this game, which helped them at least for a half. It’s hard to know if Shumpert would have been as effective on Durant throughout the whole game because we only got a small sample size of the match-up. Based on what I saw, it would be a good move for the Cavs. LeBron is having trouble guarding Durant, and if I was Tyronn Lue, I’d move him over to someone else.
4. The Warriors aren’t going to lose a lead this time
The Warriors allowed the Cavaliers to stay in it for a while, but when they turned it on it wasn’t close. I think the Warriors remembered last season’s crushing comeback by the Cavaliers during half time, after which they crushed them. There’s too much firepower on this Warriors squad. Curry had a triple-double with 32 points, Durant scored 33, Thompson scored 22, Green had 12, and they got 10 points a piece from Livingston and Clark off the bench. I don’t see how the Cavaliers can keep up with the scoring of Golden State, especially when they get 0 points from J.R. Smith and no more than 9 points from anyone on the bench. Even if the Cavaliers win a game or two in this series, I think the Warriors lead is safe.