OAKLAND, Calif. – Stephen Curry dribbled every which way and beat LeBron James to the rim in a move reminiscent of his recent MVP magic, and the Golden State Warriors grabbed a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals by downing the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113 Sunday night in coach Steve Kerr’s return to the sideline.
Curry recorded his first career postseason triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Durant contributed 33 points, 13 rebounds and six assists while moving two wins from his first championship ring.
“He’s been around, the last couple weeks especially, giving us input and giving us what he’s got,” Curry said of Kerr. “But having him back on the bench means a lot. We love his presence. We love his voice. And we’re a full group when he’s out here. ”
Golden State (14-0) kept alive a chance of becoming the first postseason team to go unbeaten all the way to a title.
James was equally spectacular with his own triple-double of 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, but again didn’t get nearly enough help to keep up with Golden State’s depth despite Kevin Love’s 27 points and 19 from Kyrie Irving.
Klay Thompson emerged from a postseason shooting funk to score 22 points with four three-pointers while playing more stellar defense and pulling down seven rebounds for the Warriors, who shot 18-for-43 from deep.
“We turned the ball over too much in the first half. But the second half, I think we settled in, tried to play simple and defensively just tried to contest their shots,” Durant said.
The best-of-seven series now shifts to Cleveland, with Game 3 Wednesday.
“They won two games,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, “now we’ve got to go home and regroup.”
Kerr returned to the bench to a rousing ovation, waving to the fans while back on the sideline for the first time since Game 2 of the first round against Portland on April 19 because of pain issues stemming from complications after 2015 back surgery.
“I’m going to pull out the ‘Win one for the Gipper’ speech,” Kerr joked. “… Maybe get a little teary-eyed. Implore them to win it for me because it’s not important for them to win it for themselves.”
Curry provided the coach more than a glimpse of his greatness from up close after Kerr had been watching games from the locker room while speaking to his players beforehand and at halftime.
He ran circles around James during one masterfully skillful sequence, then drove left through the paint for a righthanded layup over James during a signature moment in another rout. James had little help as Love got there late.
Curry wore his emotions for everybody to see, sparking the Warriors even when Cleveland went on a third-quarter run after that play.
But don’t count on anybody considering this series close to done. The Warriors squandered a 3-1 lead to the Cavs a year ago to miss a repeat.
“It’s been a great run, but none of that matters unless we can finish the job with this series,” Kerr said. “Trust me, we know. It was 2-0 last year, we lost.”