LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers controls the ball against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 3, 2018 in Oakland, California.
The Warriors won 110-102 to seize a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven series entering game four Friday in Cleveland.
Opening the game with a 16-4 run, Cleveland led wire-to-wire in the first half behind a similar formula that put the Cavaliers on the doorstep of winning Game 1 in Oakland last week: getting physical with Golden State. On a night when Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 7-of-27, Durant kept the Warriors in the game. No other player in Finals history has even done that in two consecutive games.
Golden State was up three and Durant was being guarded by Rodney Hood 35 feet from the basket. For the team, another title would solidify them as one of the greatest teams in National Basketball Association history, and for superstars like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, another ring will boost their already stellar all-time resumes and push them closer to the top of the mountain. Durant scored 10 points in the third quarter. ("You know, I had a pretty solid career before I hit that shot, I felt", Durant said.) He will be equally amused when he gets asked if the shot he made Wednesday will also be a defining moment.
"That was unbelievable what he did out there tonight", said Warriors coach Steve Kerr of Durant.
"The one he made tonight was 4 or 5 feet behind the one he made past year", Cavaliers forward LeBron James said.
"It's definitely a tough loss and we had our chances", James said.
Golden State is one win away from capturing back-to-back titles and three in the past four years. But there were no late-game heroics this time like we've seen so many times in these playoffs. "I don't know how many minutes he'd be able to play".
James, who can be a free agent in July, stopped just short of saying the Cavaliers don't have enough to beat these Warriors.
"I played with guys with that same type of intensity", Durant said, "but his talent and feel is different". He's such a high-IQ type of guy that he'll most likely find himself in the right place at the right time and help our rotation get back to what we're consistently used to.
"We have a lot of talent as well".