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.

 

 

 

Klay’s record performance catapults Warriors to do-or-die Game 6 victory

In Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson hit an NBA playoff record 11 three-pointers, with 41 points in total, to help defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder and force a series-deciding Game 7 in Oakland.

The May 28th 2016 match-up was highlighted by Thompson’s unprecedented shooting prowess, stealing the limelight from his reigning two-time MVP teammate Stephen Curry’s 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, as the Warriors came back to outscore the Thunder by 15 points in the final quarter to win 108-101 .

Thompson had 16 points at half-time, continuing to provide consistency (26.5 ppg during the playoffs) for a team that had won an NBA regular season record 73 games and cruised through the playoffs until the difficult Thunder series, where they had found themselves 3-1 down after two horrific road losses.

However it was the second half where Thompson shot as fast as his machine-gun namesake, finishing with the following shot chart..

..highlighted by these displays of catch-and-shoot wizardry…

..before hitting this three from almost half court to break the record:

As the other half of the “Splash Brothers”, Curry sealed the win with a floater over renowned shot-blocker Serge Ibaka (13 pts, 9 rbnds, 3 blks):

The Thunder, bolstered by their boisterous home crowd..

https://twitter.com/skinnersource/status/736729010437128193

..led the game until three minutes before the final buzzer, off of the solid yet inefficient performances of their stars Russell Westbrook (28 pts on 10-27 shooting, 11 asts, 9 rbnds, 4 stls, 5 turnovers) and Kevin Durant (29 pts on 10-31 shooting, 7 rbnds, 3 blks, 3 turnovers):

The play of breakout Thunder role player Andre Roberson proved crucial, who was limited to under 30 minutes due to foul trouble, but had eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal, and 5-5 shooting from the field:

Center Steven Adams, who had nine points and rebounds but was also limited by foul trouble, got payback against Warriors forward Draymond Green (14 pts, 12 rbnds, 6asts, 3 stls), who had kicked him in the nuts in game 4, and subsequently set Twitter ablaze:

Nonetheless, it was the clutch play of Thompson, Curry and forward Andre Igoudala (8 pts, 7 rbnds, 3 stls) that proved the difference:

The Thunder shot only 3 of 23 from three point land, as opposed to the Warriors’ 21 of 44, and didn’t convincingly out-rebound the Warriors as they did in their Games 1, 3 and 4 wins.

The series meets its conclusion in Oakland on Monday, where home court advantage due an undoubtedly packed Oracle Arena, and the momentum of winning two straight games after overcoming the 3-1 adversity, will make the Warriors favourites to reach the NBA Finals for the second year in a row.

The tough Thunder unit, who are capable of winning crucial playoff games on the road (see Game 1 of the series and 2016 playoff record against the Dallas Mavericks and higher-seeded San Antonio Spurs), can never be counted out. But they are facing a historically deep and talented team:

https://twitter.com/H2KLegal/status/736759347523506176

 

MVP Curry takes over Gm5, wins series

On the night he was awarded the first-ever unanimous MVP award, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry held back a late Portland Trail Blazers assault to win the series in Game 5 of the Western conference semis,  125-121, in arguably the most entertaining game of the playoffs this year.

It was the Warriors’ Klay Thompson that led the way for much of the game..

..but it was “Chef Curry” that took over in 4th, scoring 14 of his team’s 32 in the period, hitting unbelievable shots, including lefty floaters and crossing over Blazers bigs for his patented fadeaway threes:

The Blazers’ CJ McCollum responded by scoring 16 in the final quarter, including this jumper after decking Curry with the crossover:

But McCollum’s heroics, reminiscent of his 30 point breakout game in college against Duke, was in vain, as the Warriors iced the rest of the game with clutch free throws, and another insane fadeaway from Curry:

Oakland native Damian Lillard was hot early for the Blazers, scoring 21 in the first half, and made his 41st three pointer of the playoffs, a Blazer record for a single postseason:

Unfortunately Lillard came up short late, playing hero ball and getting poor shots off, keeping the ball from the red-hot McCollum:

Nonetheless, full credit to the Blazers, who were underdogs throughout the entire season, having lost 4 starters in the previous offseason:

Role players Al Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless had 16 and 13 apiece, including shooting 6 of 11 on three pointers total, a vast improvement from their previous seasons.

Allen Crabbe proved useful off the Blazers bench with 20 points with five threes.

Mason Plumlee had five points, four assists and six rebounds, seeming hesitant to drive against the Warriors’ defensive force Draymond Green, who had 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Plumlee’s opponent Andrew Bogut suffered a hamstring injury which could be an issue in the Warriors matchup with the winner of the Thunder-Spurs series.

The Warriors’ Harrison Barnes had 8 points and 7 rebounds, while Shaun Livingston chipped in with 10.

As the true star of the show, Curry (with 29 points and 11 assist, after recently coming back from a leg injury!) was humble in his incredible achievements, thanking his teammates during his short-lived MVP speech, and fortunately recovered from being left hanging by commissioner Adam Silver when receiving his second consecutive MVP award:

Dub nation rolls on to the Western Conference finals, having faced a spirited Blazers team that didn’t let the Warriors, they of the unprecedented 73 win season, sweep them. In fact, they nearly won Game 4 as well as Game 3, but were beaten by Curry’s record breaking 17 points in overtime.

The Blazers will enter the 2016-2017 season with a youthful playoff-experienced squad, as the average age is 23 and a half, compared to the league average of 27. They have plenty of cap space (around $65 million!) to re-sign Harkless, Crabbe and center Myers Leonard, who missed the playoffs with a shoulder injury, as well as a free agent like veterans Al Horford or Dwight Howard, potential defector Barnes, or (god-forbid for the rest of the West) top free agent Kevin Durant.