Stephen Curry poured in an NBA Finals-record nine 3-pointers to help the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 122-103 in Game 2 of their series.
The victory gives the Warriors a 2-0 series lead over the Cavaliers, with the series now moving to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday night.
Curry scored 33 points on 11-for-26 shooting to lead Golden State in scoring. But those numbers don�t convey the level of difficulty present in many of the shots he made, the most memorable of which was an off-balance, buzzer-beating 28-footer over the outstretched hands of Kevin Love that came midway in the fourth quarter.
�He just threw it up and I didn�t think it had any chance of going in,� teammate Klay Thompson told reporters after the game. �That was kind of like a dagger shot. It just gave us all the momentum back.�
The Cavaliers had their moments throughout the game, and even did what few teams have accomplished this season when they won the third quarter against the Warriors. But Golden State blew the game open early in the fourth, leaving now doubt and allowing both teams to empty their benches in the final minutes of the contest.
Kevin Durant added 26 points for the Warriors on 10-of-14 shooting, with both teammates and opponents praising his performance in Game 2.
�They�re very tough to stop when [Durant is] hitting shots,� Love told reporters. �A lot of people are going to talk about Step�s game and Klay having 20, but I thought KD was the guy that really had it going tonight for them and was the difference-maker.�
— NBA (@NBA) June 4, 2018
LeBron for MVP?
As usual, the Cavs were led by LeBron James, who once again nearly compiled a triple-double in a losing effort. James scored 29 points while dishing out 13 assists and collecting nine rebounds, while Love added 22 points and 10 boards.
�They�re a dangerous ball club no matter what,� James said of Golden State after the loss. �It starts with those four guys, obviously, the four All-Stars. Everyone else just does their job and they don�t miss a beat when they put someone in or they take someone out.�
Despite the fact that the Cavaliers nearly stole Game 1 and are now heading home for the first time, Golden State�s 2-0 lead in the series has made them an even more overwhelming pick to win the NBA Finals. William Hill is now taking bets on the Warriors at the almost comical odds of 1/33, while those backing the Cavs can get 14/1 on Cleveland pulling off a comeback.
One question floated by some pundits is whether or not LeBron James will get consideration for Finals MVP even if the Cavaliers do go on to lose the series. Bookmakers aren�t ruling out the possibility: while Curry (2/5) and Durant (2/1) are the favorites, James (12/1) is a dark horse third choice. Nobody else on Cleveland is being seriously considered, with Love (200/1) being the next most likely winner.
But despite the overwhelming feel of these numbers, Golden State won�t be in a truly dominant position unless they can take at least one game in Cleveland, and the Cavs don�t plan on letting their guard down at home.
�Just because we�re going home doesn�t mean we can relax,� James said following Game 2. �This is the last team in the world you want to relax against.�