Warriors crush Cavs to go 2 up

Cleveland forward LeBron James struggles to shrug off the attentions of Golden State's Klay Thompson and Draymond Green during the Cavaliers' 110-77 Game 2 defeat by the Warriors. Green notched a game-high 28 points as the Warriors opened up a 2-0 se
Cleveland forward LeBron James struggles to shrug off the attentions of Golden State's Klay Thompson and Draymond Green during the Cavaliers' 110-77 Game 2 defeat by the Warriors. Green notched a game-high 28 points as the Warriors opened up a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Defending champions' first two victories earn them record combined 48-point win margin

OAKLAND (California) • Golden State's overwhelming 110-77 victory on Sunday over Cleveland in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals put the Warriors halfway to a repeat title and left Cavaliers superstar LeBron James searching for answers.

Draymond Green scored 28 points, NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry added 18 and Klay Thompson netted 17 to spark Golden State to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which moves to Cleveland for Game 3 tomorrow and Game 4 on Friday.

"To hold this team to 77 points, that's not easy to do, but we really locked in," Green said.

"The toughest part is going to Cleveland. We've got to go in with a higher focus than we've had."

Only three teams in NBA history have overcome a 0-2 deficit to win the Finals - the 1969 Boston Celtics, 1977 Portland Trail Blazers and the 2006 Miami Heat.

HUGE GAP

I'm not surprised we won, but yeah, the margin, nobody would have guessed that coming in.

STEPHEN CURRY, Warriors guard, on their big Game 2 win.


RESOUNDING DEFEAT

Even when we had an early lead, they beat us to 50-50 balls, got extra possessions, extra tip-ins. They beat us pretty good.

LEBRON JAMES, Cavaliers forward, on their heavy Game 2 loss.

"It's a fabulous position with everybody playing their best," NBA scoring champion Curry said.

"We've got to keep our focus and not forget how we got here."

Combined with their 104-89 romp in the opener, the Warriors have produced the largest two-game combined victory margin to open an NBA Finals, six more points than the old mark of 42 by the 1950 Rochester Royals and 1961 Celtics.

"I'm not surprised we won, but yeah, the margin, nobody would have guessed that coming in," Curry said.

"But every game is different. Game 3 is going to be totally different, and we need to play like that for sure."

The Warriors stretched their overall win streak against Cleveland to seven games, including the last three of last year's Finals, two more this regular season and two more in this championship series.

James led Cleveland with 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists but also made seven turnovers.

"I'm not disappointed in our guys or frustrated," the Cavaliers star said.

"We've just got to do better at all facets of the game, offensively, defensively, physically and mentally.

"We didn't beat them at anything. Even when we had an early lead, they beat us to 50-50 balls, got extra possessions, extra tip-ins. They beat us pretty good."

For the first time in his career, James was kept scoreless in the first quarter of an NBA Finals game.

"We have to figure out how we can be better. We have to figure out how we can help one another," he said.

Golden State, who set an NBA record with 73 wins this season, matched the combined season and play-off win record of 87 set by the 1996 Chicago Bulls, improving to 50-3 overall at home, including 11-1 in the play-offs.

The Cavaliers lost forward Kevin Love early in the third quarter to dizziness. He had taken a hard elbow to the back of the head from Harrison Barnes in the second quarter. He was put into NBA concussion protocol and his status is day to day.

"Losing one of our top three players is always going to have a big impact," said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.

Kyrie Irving cut Golden State's lead to 52-46 to open the third quarter but a 17-7 Warriors run followed as Curry, Green and Thompson each hit three-pointers and a Green lay-up capped the spurt.

Led by Green and Thompson, Golden State ripped off a 19-7 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth for an 89-62 edge, sealing Cleveland's fate.

Green scored nine of his 18 first-half points in a 20-2 Warriors run that helped Golden State to a 52-44 half-time lead which they never relinquished.

Before the tip-off there was a moment of silence in memory of Muhammad Ali, the iconic boxer and human rights champion who died last Friday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2016, with the headline 'Warriors crush Cavs to go 2 up'. Print Edition | Subscribe