Jared Johnson

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: In the Gym Range

Monday, June 4, 2018


Stephen Curry helped lead the Warriors to a 122-103 Game 2 win over the Cavaliers on Sunday, setting new NBA Finals career-highs (and records) in 3-pointers made (nine) and attempted (17) on his way to 33 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal and five turnovers through 38 minutes of floor time. He took advantage of the Cavs’ constant switching, regularly roasting the Cleveland bigs whenever presented with the opportunity, and he was a bit more aggressive than usual with his shot selection finishing the game with a 39.1 usage rate. In addition to now owning the record for the most triples ever made and attempted in a single game during the NBA Finals, Curry also holds the record for the most 3-pointers in a single-season (402), the most during a postseason series (32) and the most in a regular-season game (13). He’s been torching the Cavs from distance through the first two games of this series, amassing 14 trey-bombs on 50.0% shooting, so Cleveland might want to cut down on the switching.

 

Although, there’s really not much you can do when Steph is draining shots like these:

 

 

Kevin Durant got off to a much better start in Game 2, hitting his first five shots on his way to an efficient 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go with nine rebounds, seven assists, two 3-pointers, two blocks and three turnovers in 38 minutes of play. Durant did a much better job of moving the ball and picking his spots in the offense, and he was also a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to give him an elite 82.5 true shooting percentage on the evening. There’s no denying that Durant is one of the most lethal iso-scorers in the business, and head coach Steve Kerr is fine with him going one-on-one towards the end of the shot clock to create something out of nothing, but he wanted KD to get away from going iso early in their possessions and that’s exactly what he did in Game 2. The seven dimes fell just one assist shy of matching his personal record for the most dimes handed out during a Finals game, and as a whole, Golden State dished out 28 dimes. When the ball swings left to right like it did on Sunday night, the Dubs are nearly impossible to beat, as evidenced by their 52-8 regular-season record in games they’ve recorded at least 28 assists; they are 8-0 this postseason under such circumstances.

 

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Klay Thompson fought through the pain of his high ankle sprain and finished with 20 points (8-of-13 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), three triples, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and two turnovers through 34 minutes. Over Thompson’s seven-year career thus far, he’s yet to sit out a single postseason game, and I wouldn’t expect that trend to break anytime soon. "I thought there was no chance Klay would play today,” said Draymond Green during his postgame presser. “He might be one of the toughest guys, if not thee toughest guys I’ve ever played with.”

 

Speaking of Green, he finished Sunday’s win with five points (2-of-4 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), eight boards, seven dimes, one block and zero turnovers in 39 minutes while playing some phenomenal defense against both Kevin Love and LeBron James. JaVale McGee replaced Kevon Looney in the starting five and ended up with 12 points, two rebounds and one block over 18 minutes. McGee’s brought a nice spark to the Dubs’ first unit with his rim-running ways, and the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson-Kevin Durant-Draymond Green-JaVale McGee opening lineup boasted a 142.9 offensive rating, so I’d expect McGee to remain a starter for Game 3.

 

Andre Iguodala (leg) missed his sixth consecutive postseason game on Sunday, but Steve Kerr said he was “optimistic” that Iggy would be able to get back out there at some point during the Finals. For now, he should be considered questionable for Wednesday’s Game 3 in Cleveland.

 

No D in Clevelan

 

It wasn’t so much the Cavs’ offense that did them in Game 2, but rather a lackluster effort on the defensive end. Golden State faced little resistance attacking the paint, scoring 12 of their first 15 points right under the rim, and through the first quarter of action, the Warriors were 9-of-9 in the restricted area with eight of those nine shots being uncontested layups. LeBron James did his best to try and deliver the win for Clevelan(d), but ultimately his 29 points (10-of-20 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs), two triples, nine rebounds, 13 assists and two steals were not enough to bring home the W. The Warriors did a much better job defensively against James in the win, picking him up the second he stepped foot across the halfcourt line (sometimes sooner), which made him work that much harder to create for the Cavs. Steve Kerr hinted at Golden States game plan to wear James down during his pregame presser, saying: “I didn't think we made [James] work hard enough [during Game 1]. Everything was smooth sailing for him. It's one thing to have a philosophy where you make this guy beat us and shut everybody else down. Lots of teams have done it with superstars in the past, whether you're talking about Kobe [Bryant] or Michael [Jordan] or LeBron or whoever. But it only works if you actually make the guy have to really use a lot of energy.” James was on the court for the first 44 minutes of action and as good as King James is, I don’t think it’s sustainable to have him out there for these long stretches. However, the Cavs tend to fall apart whenever he hits the sidelines, so Tyronn Lue is pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place here with his 33-year-old superstar.

 

Kevin Love got off to a slow start, but he flipped the switch after halftime and finished with 22 points (7-of-18 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs), 10 rebounds, three 3-pointers, one assist, two steals, one block and one turnover in 35 minutes. George Hill also had a solid outing with 15 points, three 3-pointers, two rebounds, three assists, two steals and one turnover in 34 minutes; and Tristan Thompson ended his evening with 11 points and five rebounds over 23 minutes. This was just the Cavs second loss this postseason when at least four of their players have reached double figures in the scoring department, but like I said, it wasn’t really Cleveland’s offense that was the issue. Out of the 12 various lineups the Cavs used during Game 2, only two posted a positive net rating, and the starting unit posted a gross 126.4 defensive rating for a -5.2 net rating.

 

J.R. Smith remained awful, going 2-of-9 from the field on his way to just five points, one 3-pointer, one rebound, two assists, two steals and one turnover in 31 minutes; while Kyle Korver missed all three of his attempts, recording just one point, two rebounds and an assist over 17 minutes. Both these guys have struggled mightily through the first two games of this series, and that’s something that will need to change for the Cavs to have any shot of bouncing back when the games return to Cleveland on Wednesday. Basically, at least one of these guys need to be not-awful for at least three games during the Finals, and they’re both 0-2 in that department through the first two games.



A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @JaredJ831, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.
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