Let’s Talk: 2017 NBA Finals, Game 2

Welcome back to Let’s Talk, as we recap Game 2 of the ongoing 2017 NBA Finals. The Warriors beat the Cavs 132-113 behind a strong effort from Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Despite the score, the Cavs made a lot of adjustments from Game 1, most notably playing a much more focused defense. And, as a result, the Cavs kept the game competitive well into the second half. But here are some talking points, so you can act like your care with your NBA fan.

1.    LeBron James

LeBron James played another great game, getting his 8th career NBA Finals triple double. This ties him with Magic Johnson for the all-time lead, and it is almost certainly just a matter of time before he holds the record outright.  So, other than being really quite good, not much to see here… oh wait, he did have this exchange with a reporter after the game. Some will find it funny, others will find it rude, depending on their team allegiances I would guess.

2.    Steph Curry

Speaking of triple doubles, Steph Curry registered his first career NBA Finals triple double last night. Curry, who struggled in last year’s Finals from the effects of a lingering knee injury, has looked much more like a two-time league MVP in the Finals this year. This has easily been the best post-season of his career, and he would be the favorite to win the Finals MVP this year if not for…

3.    Kevin Durant

In a series that features 7 of the past 8 league MVP award winners, Kevin Durant has been the best player on the floor two games in. Last night, he dominated the game offensively and defensively as he added 5 blocks and 3 steals to his 33 points. When Defensive Player of the Year front runner Draymond Green left the game in the 3rd quarter due to foul trouble, KD stepped in to fill his defensive role and looked every bit the defensive terror that Green typically is. The game was pretty much over after KD did this:

4.    14-0

By the way, with the win, the Warriors set an NBA record for the most consecutive post-season victories in a row, improving to 14-0 these playoffs. The previous record was 13, set by the Cavs (3 straight wins to end the finals last year, 10 straight to start this year’s playoffs). With the Warriors looking so dominant the first 2 games, people are going to be talking about the chance of the Warriors sweeping the Cavs and finishing a perfect post-season, which has never been done.

5.    The Kardashian Curse Continues

Some context. In the last 2 NBA Finals, Tristan Thompson averaged a double-double in each. His ability to grab offensive rebounds when the Warriors played their small line-up was the major reason Steve Kerr played former Warriors centers Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao so much in the deciding Game 7 last year, although they were both playing terribly. And his ability to switch out onto Steph Curry was key to the Cavs defensive schemes throughout the NBA Finals last year.

The Cavs won the title last year because LeBron is awesome and Kyrie played spectacularly, but Thompson was a huge part of why they won last year too. But thanks to the Kardashian Curse, Thompson has averaged 4 points and 4 rebounds per game in this year’s finals, while getting lit up defensively. I’m not saying Cleveland should hate Khloe Kardashian, but I’m not not saying they should either.

6. Steve Kerr Returns

Two years ago after the Warriors won the title, Kerr had back surgery and had to miss a large portion of last year’s season due to complications from the surgery. Continuing complications then forced him to miss the Warriors last 12 playoff games as well. He had surgery again to try to alleviate the symptoms and was finally back coaching the team last night. By all accounts, Kerr is a great guy, so here’s hoping he is healthy from here on out.

7.    Team Specific Talking Points

Warriors: Despite making 20 turnovers and Draymond Green missing large sections of the game due to foul trouble, the Warriors were still able to win by 19 points. Coach Steve Kerr said that they will need to clean that up if they want to win in Cleveland. It is scary, though, that the Warriors have looked so dominant without having played their best.

Cavs: The Cavs were down 2-0 in last year’s Finals too and still went on the win the championship. All the people saying the series is over should probably remember that. Also, they still have LeBron James. Kevin Love has been the best he’s ever been in the Finals thus far, averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds per game. Kyrie has been struggling and will need to improve, but the real question is outside of the big 3 is who else is Tyronn Lue going to be able to count on moving forward? The Cavs’ role players have been atrocious, but you have to assume they will play better at home.

 

Anyways, hope this gives you some things to talk about with your basketball fan. Game 3 is Wed night, so make sure to come back Thursday for the recap.

 

Image: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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