“Well I’m not happy he won his first, I’m not happy at all”, James said.
Irving (7 of 12), Kevin Love (6 of 8) and J.R. Smith (5 of 9) were all hot from 3-point range in the stunning turnaround.
Golden State plays under a set of offensive-friendly rules, and critics said they wouldn’t have stood up to the rugged play of the past.
That’s what the Cavaliers must do after falling to the Warriors in the final for the second time in 3 seasons, having rallied from 3-1 down a year ago to win the crown when James led the series in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks – another unprecedented feat.
What made them great: With Cousy controlling a powerful offense and Russell patrolling the paint for the league’s leading defense, the Celtics outscored teams by more than nine points per game while going 23-5 and 11-3 on neutral courts – yes, National Basketball Association teams played neutral-site games back then.
Durant shot 14 for 20 and Curry – the two-time reigning MVP who took a backseat as the new big star got acclimated – finished off a brilliant postseason. James went to four-straight NBA Finals in Miami before leading the Cavs to three Finals in a row. Referee Ed Malloy passed on the call, which would have been Durant’s third foul of the half. Unfortunately for the Cavs, they ran into one of the best teams the National Basketball Association has ever seen.
The win provided redemption for the Warriors, who brought Kevin Durant over from the Oklahoma City Thunder last offseason to bolster their already high-powered offense.
Durant hit two deep 3s and Andre Iguodala threw down a soaring, one-handed dunk that sparked an increasingly nervous Oracle Arena crowd. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year returned for Game 2 of the Finals following a six-week absence from the bench. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the clincher.
The more physical play appeared to be just the thing to get Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson unleashed.
But that idea fizzled fast when the Warriors opened with a pair of lopsided wins at home, fought back late to steal the next game in Cleveland and then, after dropping their first game of the postseason, closed out the series at home.
“It would have been great to see us at a full unit throughout the whole season so we can continue to build the camaraderie and chemistry out on the floor so you don’t have to wait until April to see what you’re capable of doing”, he said. “But no such thing as a failed season when you put in as much work as we’ve done”.
While the two teams have met three straight times in the NBA Finals, it was newcomer for Golden State who made the difference. You need that. And when we come out the beginning of Game 4 and lose shooters and turn the ball over carelessly, we’re obviously not ready.