Warriors wreck Cavs in Game 2; Green 28 pts on five threes, Bogut five blks

With crucial contributions from forward Draymond Green and Australian center Andrew Bogut, the Golden State Warriors thrashed the Cleveland Cavaliers by 33 points to take a 2-0 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Bogut finished with five blocks, including 4 in the first quarter, including this swat that led to a three from two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry, who had 19 points and nine rebounds in only 25 minutes of action:

Bogut also had six rebounds and two steals in just 15 minutes of action, having been rested for much of the game due his team’s dominance. His immovable screens, running of the floor to defend the fast break, box outs and offensive rebounding (three for the game) shows that the 7 footer from Melbourne is a model team-oriented player for any young big man to watch.

The Warriors’ defense was superb, forcing the Cavs into 17 turnovers, 35% on field goals and 22% from three. Cleveland’s top 3 players of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving combined for just 34 points on 14-38 from the floor.

Love (five points, three rebounds in 21 minutes) left the game early in the third quarter after receiving an accidental elbow to the head from Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (who had five points and rebounds respectively), and has been diagnosed with a concussion that might keep him from Game 3 in Cleveland in three days time:

The Cavs’ Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova played just under 17 minutes, most of which were in “garbage time” (when the starters are rested during a huge deficit in score). “Delly” had seven points on a poor 2-9 shooting, but had a better “plus-minus” (a measure of contribution to the team) than his superior at point guard, Irving (10 points on 5-14 shooting), and had this great assist to James for the jam:

The Warriors’ best player on the floor (and in the series so far) was second team All-NBA forward Draymond Green, who scored 28 points on five threes, including this fadeaway that sent his team and the packed Oracle Arena into a frenzy:

Green’s all-round performance showed the versatility and depth of the Warriors team that won a record 73 games in the regular season. Green had seven rebounds and five assists, including this dime to Bogut:

Shaun Livingston had 20 points in Game 1, and backed it up with seven points and five assists in Game 2. Brazilian Leandro Barbosa, who was supported by fellow countrymen and soccer star Neymar as evidence of basketball’s growth around the world, had 10 points. Forward Andre Igoudala led the team with a plus-minus of 28 and this putback slam:

The Warriors’ best player of their playoff run, Klay Thompson, had 17 points with four threes, and his fellow ‘Splash Brother” Curry chipped in with four threes also:

As the Cavs’ best player,  James carried his team for much of the game, finishing with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, with this dunk:

..but he had seven turnovers and could only do so much for a team that was outmatched by the Warriors combination of stifling defense, shooting (54% total, 45.5% from three) and teamwork (26 assists, with all seven bench players getting minutes).

The series moves on to Cleveland, where the Cavs will try to turn the series around after being defeated by 48 points total in the first two games, an NBA record differential for that span. Only three teams in NBA history have won the Finals after losing the first two games.

 

 

 

Pacers 98 @ Cleveland 123 (Game 2, East semis, 05/04/16)

Well, it looked OK for the Hawks for about 5 minutes. The rest is history.

25 three pointers, the all-time record for one NBA game, were made by the Cavs, spearheaded by the streakiest shooter alive in JR Smith, who made seven, after nailing six in the first half.

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The Cavs’ JR Smith, with seven three pointers made, had a good workout of his picturesque jump shot. Photo courtesy of cavs.com

The Cavs’ Lebron James and Kyrie Irving had four apiece, Kevin Love had 3, Richard Jefferson had two, and five other players had one. The team shot 25-45, a 55% clip.

While I hate blow-outs, the game was a spectacle – the Hawks were playing respectable defense, especially on Smith, but there was no stopping JR, who has been in the starting lineup to stretch the floor, a good coaching ploy by rookie coach Tyronn Lue.

The score was 38-74 at half time – on eighteen threes.

Paul Millsap was the only impressive Hawk, scoring 16 and getting 11 rebounds by game’s end. He hit a buzzer-beating half court three at quarter time, but it left his fingers a fraction of a second after the siren went off.

The Hawks made some solid plays early on – Teague exploited Irving’s questionable defense, while the Hawks’ other point guard Dennis Schroder lobbed it to Al Horford for a nice alley-oop dunk.

But the Cavs ran away with the game after that, passing the ball beautifully, as seen when the Big 3 linked up off of an insane left handed pass to Irving in the middle.

Schroder had just 13 minutes, a puzzling choice by coach Mike Budenholzer as Schroder had 27 points in the game prior.

James passed Tim Duncan for fifth place in postseason scoring, finishing with 27 points, five assist and four rebounds, in another breezy performance.

The Hawks would be at a loss as to how they can improve for Game 3 in Atlanta – rushing the Cavs three point shooters would take away the outside shots, but the Cavs are too good in the paint to let them in there also. My sympathies are with coach Mike Budenholzer.

Highlights

Box score

 

 

Hawks 93 @ Cavaliers 104 (Gm1, East semis, 05/02/15)

 

The Atlanta Hawks’ key players came up short on Sunday night, as the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised through the game to lead 1-0 in the Eastern Conference semis.

While the Hawks made an admirable effort coming from 18 points down to lead in the 4th quarter with eight minutes remaining, the Cavaliers were seemingly on cruise control throughout the game.

1. lebron block.JPG
The Cavs’ Lebron James blocks the Hawks’ struggling Horford

LeBron James had 25 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, yet was content with distributing from the perimeter until the final stages. He rarely drove unless on fast breaks,and didn’t bully the 200 pound Kent Bazemore in the post regularlyas he did on one occasion (see the 50 second mark ). I’m a huge Lebron fan, but I can’t help but think he could play from the post just as Jordan did in his later years (except the former is 250 plus pounds!).

Bazemore had 15 points and 8 rebounds, but missed all 4 threes that he took in the final quarter as well as turning it over twice in that period. I think he’d be more valuable as a 2 guard, who can defend, shoot threes sparingly and have less responsibility.

The Hawks’ All-Star frontcourt of Paul Millsap and Al Horford combined for just 27 points on 32 shots, while Kyle Korver couldn’t get the ball, with just 3 points and only one field goal attempt.

The lone bright spot for Atlanta was their backup point guard Dennis Schroder, who had 27 points, 15 of which came in the second half which contributed to the Hawk’s late run. He sped past most defenders on drives, and finished at the rim with his long arms (6’7″wingspan) although Kyrie had a nice block on him. Schroder also hit 5/10 three pointers, and had six assists.

schroder lebron
The Cavs’ James battles with the Hawks’ young gun Dennis Schroder.

For the Cavaliers, Kevin Love hit big 3’s but shot inefficently overall. I miss the tubby Love that dominated on the interior and in the post for the Timberwolves early in his career, instead of the modern skinny Love that is primarily a shooter and defensive rebounder.

Kyrie Irving had a solid day for the Cavs, scoring 21 points, including 9 in the 4th quarter, while his understudy Matthew Dellavedova had a few beautiful assists (being an Aussie, I have some Delly bias, as I think he deserves a big payday this summer as a defensive playmaker who can shoot).

Tristan Thompson was a beast, pulling in 14 rebounds, with 7 on the offensive end, an impressive feat considering he was going against premier rebounders in Millsap and Horford. The Hawks could really do with the big body of Tiago Splitter, who is out injured after hip surgery, to keep guys like Thompson and Love off the boards.

The Hawks made a late run based on Schroder’s play, but in the end the Cavs barely broke a sweat. The series remains in Cleveland for Game 2, and unless the Hawks’ All-Stars are more assertive and feed off of Schroder’s success, Celeveland are in for another breezy evening.

cavs help
Irving (21 pts, 8 asts), JR Smith (12 pts, 5 rbnds) and Love (17 pts, 11 rbnds) help James up.

Highlights

Box score