Cavs ignore last year’s comeback after another 0-2 hole
Published 9:44 pm Monday, June 5, 2017
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed home in a familiar spot after the first two games of the NBA Finals.
Rather than reach back to last year’s championship comeback for a confidence boost, James’ focus is on figuring out what Cleveland must do to change its fortunes against a Warriors team that is fresher and far more dangerous this year, thanks to the addition of Kevin Durant.
“They’re a different team,” James said following a 132-113 loss in Game 2 on Sunday night that put Cleveland in an 0-2 hole.
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That’s been quite evident through two games. Durant leads all players with 71 points the first two games — six more than the player he replaced in the lineup, Harrison Barnes, scored in seven games a year ago.
Durant’s scoring has taken pressure off Stephen Curry and allowed the Warriors to withstand Cleveland runs so well that they haven’t trailed after the first quarter in either game.
A healthy Curry followed up a 28-point Game 1 with his first postseason triple-double on Sunday with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He looks more like a two-time MVP than the hobbled player he was in last year’s Finals.
Klay Thompson shook off a shooting slump to score 22 points and the Warriors pulled away late for another lopsided win.
“They play well at home,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “They won their first two games like they’re supposed to. Coming to a tough environment, we knew it was going to be tough, but they won the first two games. We get a chance to go home now to our home crowd where we play well, also.”
The Cavs began to turn things around last year after being outscored by 48 points in the first two losses in Oakland — seven more than this year. They split the two games at home before reeling off three straight wins to become the fourth team to win the title after losing the first two games.
“They’re going to keep coming, man,” Curry said. “There is a lot of work for us left to do. And you got to expect them to play, obviously, better at home. And we’re going to need to play better to win on the road.”
What was so discouraging for the Cavs is that they played better in Game 2, but the result didn’t really change. They went to a smaller lineup that contributed to Golden State committing 20 turnovers a game after tying a Finals record with four.