CLEVELAND — Stephen Curry forged a record-setting night and scored 33 points. Klay Thompson surprised even some teammates and played despite a sore, stiff and swollen high ankle sprain. JaVale McGee got something of a surprise start and made all six of his shots.
“A lot of people are going to talk about Steph’s game and Klay having 20 as well, but I thought K.D. was the guy that really had it going for them and was the difference maker,” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love.
Kevin Durant, fresh off an 8-of-22 shooting Game 1 that caused him to look for better shots, went out in Game 2 of the NBA Finals and scored 26 points, hitting 10-of-14 shots for the Warriors in their 122-103 victory Sunday, when they claimed a 2-0 lead in the series.
Sort of hard to be an afterthought with a 26-point night but Durant, the reigning Finals MVP, somehow managed it. And there were a lot of eyes on him after he had promised to improve consistency. In Game 1 by his own account, “I didn’t take smart shots, I took risky looks.” So that would change, he said. It did.
“I just tried to be patient, take my time and just make the right basketball plays,” said Durant, who added nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks in one of the more publicly ignored quality games in some time.
The 26 points kept Durant in some pretty rare company. Game 2 Sunday was his 12th Finals game ever — he played five last year with the Warriors, he played five with the Thunder in 2012. In every game, he has scored at least 25 points. Only two other players in NBA history scored 25 in each of their first 12 games in the championship round: Shaquille O’Neal, who did it in his first 21, and Michael Jordan, who did it in his first 20.
Durant got after it fairly quickly Sunday. Before six minutes had elapsed, he had taken — and made — three shots, a drive and a couple 12-foot turnarounds. All smart shots. He knows he has to continue that sort of approach from the outset in Cleveland, which should be a somewhat less than warm and fuzzy environment.
“We’ve got to come out with a sense of urgency to start the game,” Durant said. “They’ve only lost one game [at home], so they’re very confident there. We’ve just got to come out, stick to our game plan, keep playing hard and we’ll be fine.”
Durant played hard in Game 2. At both ends.
“Defensively he was fantastic,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He was getting after it. Game 1, I didn’t think he played his best defensive game. Kevin is going to probably have 26 points whether he plays well or not. That’s how talented he is. So he’s always going to score. It’s not about scoring, it’s about the defensive intensity, it’s about his work on the glass. I thought he set a really good tone for us with his defense early.”