Game 2 further proof of impact from Game 1 gaffes

Margin of error is near zero with Warriors on all cylinders

Alex Hooper
June 03, 2018 - 11:23 pm
Jun 3, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) and guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrate in front of Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love (0) during the second half in game two of the 2018 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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Game 2 of the NBA Finals proved why the egregious errors by the officials and Cavaliers guard JR Smith in Game 1 were so devastating.

The Golden State Warriors went full Warriors in Game 2, hitting nearly impossible shots at every turn after creating shot attempts from running in transition.

When Warriors starters exited the game with 3:27 left to go, Golden State had posted a 134.5 oRTG on a 70.9 eFG%, both 98th percentile numbers. According to CleaningTheGlass.com, the Warriors added 10.9 points per 100 possessions in transition, 8.7 of which came off of live rebounds, both in the 96th percentile. 15.5% of Warriors possessions came on the fast break.

Kevin Durant was 10/14 from the field, Klay Thompson was 8/13, and Steph Curry – while only 11/26 – hit the most (9) 3-point field goals in a single NBA Finals game. JaVale McGee, David West and Shaun Livingston combined for a perfect 12/12.

The threat of Andre Iguodala’s return still beckons, and is the most likely route for the Warriors to accelerate further.

The defending champions and perhaps the greatest assembly of talent in NBA history do not need extra rope, because their otherworldly ability to score make it nearly impossible for teams to keep pace. Even on their best nights.

Game 1 was the best punch the Cavaliers could throw, and their best to date in the 2018 Playoffs. Game 2 was not far off.

These games happen against the Warriors, and will happen at least once more in the series, if not twice in as many tries. Tip the cap and move on.

Game 1 was not one of those games, in the sense that even Draymond Green said Golden State got ‘lucky’ to win, as a controversial review gave the Warriors a golden extra-possession. That is what it took to tie the game, then JR Smith gave the eventual winners five more minutes to get hot.

The room for error is not enough for the Cavaliers to triumph over any extra adversity not already provided by the Warriors.

There is good news in what happened in the first two games in Oakland. When the Cavaliers play their best, they are capable of beating the Warriors, something which was not terribly obvious coming into the series.

When the Warriors play perfectly, like they do so often and did in Game 2, the Cavs are able to at least hold serve and hope for fault.

The Cavaliers now head back to Quicken Loans Arena, where they have had margin for error, 29-12 at home this season, and 8-1 in the post-season. If any of the four-time defending Eastern Conference Champions were unsure of whether or not they can outgun their opponents, they know they can now, and have the opportunity at home.

The opportunity to steal home court was equal parts taken from them and given away, and now James and company must even the series to have much of a chance to win it.