Cavs clamp Curry, seize Game 2 in overtime

An NBA Finals game between the Warriors and Cavaliers with an overtime finish. No, not a Game 1 rewind: The sequel has a different ending.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were all but written off after their star point guard went down. With Kyrie Irving sidelined, it was up to Matthew Dellavedova to fill in for the Cavaliers against a deep Warriors team in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

A triple-double LeBron James performance and the backing of a double-double from Timofey Mozgov allowed Cleveland to steal a game in front of the Warriors home crowd.

But it was Dellavedova’s defensive effort paired with overtime, clutch free throws that sealed the 95-93 Game 2 victory for Cleveland.

The Cavs and Dellavedova put pressure on the Warriors all night, holding Stephen Curry to just 10 points through three quarters and Draymond Green to a six-point regulation box score.

Dellavedova said it takes all five guys on the court to keep Curry under control:

“I think it’s just a team defensive cover.  Everybody has to be alert the whole game because if you lose him for a second, he’s going to get a good look.  Even if you play good defense, he’s going to hit some tough shots, so you’ve just got to keep defending him and just make it as hard as possible.”

But Curry’s fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson was due for a big night. Thompson shot out of the gate for nine points in less than five minutes before picking up two quick fouls in the opening quarter.

Thompson came back and led the Warriors with 34 points on 14-of-28 shooting for the night, but without the usual production of his supporting cast, it ended up for naught.

After the game Thompson said he knows that Curry will bounce back and that even though it stings right now, he’s confident the Warriors are fine:

“It’s a collective effort.  It’s a team sport, and obviously it really stings right now, but we’ve been in this situation before and we’re not going to let it deflate us.”

Cleveland set the pace for most of the night, getting contributions from James Jones and J.R. Smith. Even with flashes of Curry’s ball-handling wizardry, the Cavaliers and James seemed to always have an answer. James finished with a game-high 39 points to go with 16 rebounds and 11 assists.

James noted the troubles and adversity the Cavaliers have been through and said if people are looking for pretty basketball, they’re in the wrong place:

“It’s not cute at all.  If you’re looking for us to play sexy, cute basketball, then that’s not us.  That’s not us right now.  Everything is tough.  You know, we’re going to come in with an aggressive mindset defensively and offensively.”

The ugliest moment came from someone in a Warriors uniform.

Closing out the third quarter a fast break led by Andre Iguodala ended in disaster when Iguodala passed to Marreese Speights who flubbed a wide open dunk for a chance to cut the Cavs’ lead to just one point.

Redemption for the embarrassing Speights possession looked like it would come from Thompson, who was fouled on a made 3-point shot, but he missed the ensuing free throw. That’s how the night continued for the Warriors.

Curry’s shots would all but touch the bottom of the net before popping out of the cylinder, the Warriors would force multiple shot-clock violations, then on the other end, a three for Smith, or another offensive rebound by Tristan Thompson and James willing his way to the basket, hitting from anywhere and everywhere on the hardwood.

Curry said that despite the Cavaliers finding a way to rattle the Warriors and upset the offense, he’s confident that the Championship will be his:

“Credit their defense.  They’ve done something that maybe has taken us out of our rhythm, and we have to figure out what that is specifically.  But I think we’re still confident.  We still believe that we’re going to win the series.”

Even Dellavedova, offensively stagnant for the first three quarters, found the basket in the final quarter, scoring seven points including what looked like the go-ahead bucket giving the Cavs a 64-62 lead.

Treys from Iguodala and Curry in the waning minutes of the game were followed by an MVP performance from Curry and the Warriors were sent into overtime once again.

The Cavaliers struck first, taking a five-point lead in the extra frame, but the Warriors fought back with back-to-back put-back buckets from Green.

A jump ball between James and Green resulted in James catching the ball for a violation, which put the ball in the Warriors’ hands with less than a minute left. Curry took the ball to just inside the arc, faked, and caused Smith to foul out of the game.

Curry’s free throws gave the Warriors a one-point lead but on the other end, after a Green block on James and a Warriors turnover, Dellevedova took back the lead with free throws after a loose-ball foul.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 heading into Game 3 in Cleveland Tuesday, followed by Game 4 Thursday.

Notes

The 2015 NBA Finals marks the first time in NBA history that the first two games of the series went to overtime. … The Warriors shot 39.8 percent from the field (33-of-83), their lowest field goal percentage of the postseason. … Cleveland earned its first NBA Finals win in franchise history. … Klay Thompson scored 34 points, matching his postseason career-high (5/8/13 at San Antonio), while hitting a playoff career-high 14 field goals… Thompson scored 20 points in the first half, his highest scoring output in a half this postseason… Per ESPN Stats & Info, Thompson is the first Warrior since Rick Barry (38 points on May 23, 1975) to post a 30-point game in the NBA Finals. … Stephen Curry extended his streak of hitting multiple three-pointers to 22-straight playoff games, an NBA record (besting Ray Allen’s streak of 21-straight such games)… Curry shot 2-of-15 (.133) from three-point range, with his 15 three-point attempts setting an NBA Finals record for most three-pointers attempted in a single game (previous: 12, three times, most recently Rashard Lewis on 6/14/09). … LeBron James tallied the fifth triple-double in the NBA Finals of his career (13th career postseason triple-double), posting game-highs in points (39), rebounds (16) and assists (11) in a playoff career-high 50 minutes.


Follow @SFBay and @NBASarah on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Golden State Warriors.