LAST Finals it was the ‘Lineup of Death’ that struck fear into any anti-Warrior fans. But now we can say R.I.P. to the ‘Lineup of Death’. We should now fear the ultimate pairing that is Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Call them what you want. ‘The Dynamic Duo’. ‘The Terrible Two’. ‘Ying and Yang’. Whatever name you choose they can be defined as one thing. Un-f*cking-stopable.
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AS I sat back and watched Game 2 unfold, the Cavs fan in me went through a combination emotions including of jealously, anger, disappointment and hopelessness. The Warriors committed 20 turnovers, Durant and Draymond were in foul trouble late, and yet, at no time did I think Cleveland had a realistic chance of winning. For the whole first half both sides traded blows, with the Dubs jumping out to a 10ish point lead only for the Cavs to claw back to within a basket or two. However, Cleveland just didn’t look in sync for any length of time on both defense and offense.
LAST night was reminiscent of an NBA Finals game 30 years ago to the day. The Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers met in that 1987 series, and in Game 2 the Lakers ran out 141-122 winners. The 132 points the Warriors scored on Sunday night was the most since that Game 2 as they chalked up 34 assists on 46 makes. Cleveland were still able to put up plenty of points, launching 100 shots overall, but once again downtown shooting was an issue. The Cavs were 8-29 overall with everyone out of their ‘Big 3’ going 3-13. That brought their total three point shooting numbers from the two games so far to 19-60, with the bench shooting a miserable 5-24. In the Finals preview I wrote, I illustrated the importance of the Cavaliers bench shooters and through 96 minutes they haven’t shown up. The second unit wasn’t the only one to blame for Game 2’s L though. Kyrie’s offensive possessions were anything but spectacular, thanks in large part to the stellar defense from Klay Thompson. Irving’s possessions were usually wasted with iso/hero ball that resulted in a missed shot (8-23 shooting) as he finished with 19 points. He wasn’t his usual breathtaking self and if Cleveland is going to extend the series they need his illustrious playmaking at 100%.
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JEFF van Gundy’s made a claim during the game that Durant & Curry are perhaps the greatest duo to play together. On the surface this seems like a wild claim (see Example A and Example B), yet it might not seem so farfetched. Through the first two games they have dismantled the Cavs title hopes and once their tenure together is done maybe they will be the best duo ever. Regardless of who the opposition is though Cleveland needs to control the things they can control, and while playing a certain way all year has got them to this point, they can’t afford to adopt the mentality of just playing to their strengths or they will get steamrolled. In Game 2 the Warriors and the Cavaliers both played at a frenetic pace which resulted in plenty of shots for the Cavs, but they were visibly tired once the third quarter was drawing to a close. They need to slow down the pace and not try to ‘out-Warrior’ the Warriors. They were down 2-0 last year so this is far from done, although last year this team didn’t have a pair playing like the best dup in NBA history.
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