Stephen Curry’s record night lifts Warriors to 2-0 lead in NBA Finals

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OAKLAND — Statement game.

The statement went like this: “Forget all the controversy in Game 1. We’re taking this out of the realm of controversy and away from the officials, taking it into our own hands. We’re the Warriors. We simply are the better team.”

They trounced the Cleveland Cavaliers 122-103 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, and now hold a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series. Game 2 didn’t come down to one call or one mistake, like Game 1. The Warriors overwhelmed Cleveland, shot 57.3 percent from the field and made 15 3s. Stephen Curry made nine 3s by himself — a record for an NBA Finals game. He finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.


Remember, Curry had been hurt. He missed almost six weeks with a sprained left MCL, and hadn’t seemed 100 percent healthy since he returned during the Western Conference semifinal against the New Orleans Pelicans.

But, Curry seemed 100 percent healthy Sunday night. He left the crowd and the Cavaliers in awe.

“The looks on their faces when he hit some of the shots,” Draymond Green said. “It was like dagger after dagger. Played great defense, and he pulled up and hit a 3 in your face. You definitely notice the effect that it has on the opposing team.”

LeBron James noticed, too. “Every shot he takes that goes in, he has the business of making,” James said. “That’s what he does. We shouldn’t be surprised or deflated. Take the ball out. Move forward.”

Curry wasn’t the only Warrior who played extremely well. Kevin Durant shot 10 for 14, and finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. And Klay Thompson shot 8 for 13, and finished with 20 points, all while playing with a high left ankle sprain. In total, five Warriors scored in double figures.


Andre Iguodala did not play — he missed his sixth game in a row with a bone bruise in his left knee. “I’m optimistic Andre will play at some point in the series,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said before the game. “But, there’s no way of knowing for sure at this point.”

Without Iguodala, Kerr started center JaVale McGee in Game 2. “The pace he brings and the energy he brings is important for us,” Kerr said. “He helped us get off to a good start.”

Particularly on defense. With McGee standing under the basket waiting to block shots, James was unusually passive during the first quarter. He hardly drove, and took only two of the Cavaliers’ first 15 shots.

McGee helped the Warriors’ offense, too — he scored 12 points in 17 minutes. And during the first quarter, the Warriors made their first seven shots from the field with McGee on the floor. Six of those shots were wide open looks at the rim. The Warriors scored 22 of their 32 first-quarter points in the paint, while the Cavaliers simply conceded layup after layup. They seemed confused or disinterested or both.

And yet, the Cavaliers trailed by only four points after the first quarter. They kept themselves in the game by outrebounding the Warriors on the offensive glass 4 to 1, and outscoring them 6-0 at the free-throw line during the opening period.

But, when the second quarter started, James went cold — he made only 2 of 7 shots. And Curry got hot. He made three 3s, and helped the Warriors built a 15-point lead before halftime.

As well as Curry played, the Warriors defense was the difference during the second quarter. It gave up only 18 points, and allowed the Cavaliers to shoot just 26.1 percent from the field.


During the third quarter, the Warriors defense disappeared — it gave up 34 points. Kevin Love scored 13 by himself, and made three 3s. Collectively, the Cavaliers made five 3s in the third, and cut the Warriors lead to five points with 4:49 left in the quarter. The Cavaliers hung tough.

They trailed by seven points at the beginning of the fourth quarter when James made a 3. He seemed ready to take over the game right there, but didn’t. Curry did.

Curry hit a back-to-back 3s. Just like that, the Warriors were winning by 13 points. They always have an answer when the Cavaliers get close.

Or, Curry has an answer.

The Cavaliers were hanging around down 11 points with 7:54 remaining in the game. Curry got the ball, bobbled it and picked it up 28 feet away from the basket. With one second left on the shot clock, he heaved a shot from his waist and swished it. Wow!

“He just kept going backwards,” Thompson said. “I don’t know why. He just threw it up, and I didn’t think it had any chance of going in. That was a dagger shot, and it gave us all the momentum back. That was my favorite. It hit nothing but net, and that was just a very good sight to see.”


Two minutes later, Curry caught the ball in the corner, hit another 3, drew a foul and made the free throw. A four-point play. Goodnight, Cleveland. That was Curry’s eighth 3 of the game. Three minutes later, he drilled No. 9.

“I never woke up and was like, “All right, let’s go get nine 3s and get the record,’” Curry said. “It was more so about playing the game the right way, having good intentions on the court and good things happen.”

Good things certainly happened for Curry and the Warriors Sunday night. Talk about an all-time understatement.

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