Golden State Warriors Take A 2-0 Lead Over Cleveland Cavaliers
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
So Game 2 of the NBA Finals was last night. And it didn't match the drama and all-out craziness of the first game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In that one, there were blown calls that were outright errors and an overtime win for the Warriors. Still, last night in Oakland, there was history as Golden State dominated Cleveland, 122 to 103, and took a 2-games-to-none lead in the series. NPR's Tom Goldman was there, and he filed this report.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Warriors fans weren't going to let Game 1 go that easily. Can you blame them? If Cleveland's J.R. Smith hadn't made a major boo-boo, dribbling the ball instead of trying to score with seconds left, the Warriors might have lost. And so it was last night. As the Cavs players were introduced pregame to a chorus of boos from the home crowd, there was this.
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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUCER: J.R. Smith.
GOLDMAN: Not only did Smith get that huge cheer, when he shot free throws during the game, Oracle Arena reverberated with chants of MVP, MVP. Funny Bay Area people became happy Bay Area people as the Warriors grabbed the lead from the start and never gave it back. The euphoria peaked in the fourth quarter...
GOLDMAN: ...when Warriors guard Steph Curry hit another seemingly impossible 3-point shot on his way to history. His nine made 3-pointers were an NBA finals record. One in particular was, for lack of a better description, ridiculous. Tightly guarded by Cleveland's Kevin Love, with the 24-second shot clock about to expire, Curry launched the shot from what seemed like a mile away, as he was drifting away from the basket.
STEPH CURRY: I try all sorts of shots at some point or another. But at that point, it's just feel and let it go. And thankfully it went in. And it was cool moment for sure.
GOLDMAN: Not from Kevin Love's vantage point.
KEVIN LOVE: We played 23-and-a-half good seconds of defense. And, you know, he turned around and hit a moonball.
GOLDMAN: As great as Curry and Golden State's offense were, the defense took a star turn as well. Head coach Steve Kerr promised more pressure on Cleveland's LeBron James, after James scored 51 in the opener. Last night, he was held to 29. He also dished out 13 assists. Asked if he felt Golden State defenders made him work harder, as Coach Kerr had wanted, James got snarly.
LEBRON JAMES: I think I only got tired once tonight.
GOLDMAN: If any Cavs player had reason to snarl, it was the sudden toast of Oakland J.R. Smith. But even after playing what he called a terrible game, he said he welcomed the jeering from Warriors fans.
J.R. SMITH: I like it. I'd rather them do that than not acknowledge me at all. So I appreciate it.
GOLDMAN: The series now heads to Cleveland for two games where J.R. Smith knows the cheering will be genuine. And the Cavs hope it's constant as they try to slow down the now surging Warriors. Tom Goldman, NPR News, Oakland.
(SOUNDBITE OF SOULCHEF'S "FRANKI VALLI (INSTRUMENTAL)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.