The Cleveland Cavaliers surely studied the Golden State Warriors in great detail before the NBA Finals began. It’s beginning to look like this endeavor was an exercise in futility after the Dubs feted Steve Kerr’s return with a maestro performance of offensive basketball in a 132-113 rout. And, really, LeBron James & Co. could have learned all the pertinent information by studying pack hunting. Or, for the visual learners, watching Jurassic Park.
The Warriors have more in common with velociraptors than Toronto Raptors, at least as it relates to the Cavaliers. Tyronn Lue’s team can key in on one specific threat all they like but it’s bound to end the same way no matter what.
Two other ruthless killers are going to come in from the side and put them out of their misery.
Sam Neill understood and evangelized when he saw it prudent.
A 7-for-17 shooting night by Curry is something the Cavs would readily sign up for time and time again. The 14-for-14 mark at the free-throw line, however, is a different story.
But while eyes were trained on the two-time MVP in transition and in the halfcourt, Durant was operating with ruthless effectiveness, going 13-for-22 and posting 33 points and 13 rebounds. While eyes were trained on defensive quarterback Draymond Green on the other end, the 6-foot-10 study in length was swatting away a game-high five blocks.
When the Cavaliers divided their attention between Curry and Durant, Klay Thompson, who was a no show in Game 1, was making it his personal mission to deliver dagger and dagger from the outer regions of Oracle Arena. Thompson converted 67 percent of his shots en route to 22 points.
The Warriors are highly skilled, insatiable hunters who will only be satisfied when they taste the sweet meat of revenge. That’s only possible by slaying the Cavs, the team that pulled what’s looking increasingly like a monumental upset next year.
Focusing on just one of their many weapons leaves the door wide-open for an attack from the periphery. What’s amazing is how true this holds down the depth chart. Even Shaun Livingston and Ian Clark chipped in 10 points apiece last night. JaVale McGee emerged from the clouds to throw in an absurdly athletic dunk.
The simple point: when a defender looks in Curry’s eyes, they can see he’s figuring out the best way to exploit the situation. Or Durant’s. Or Green’s. Or Thompsons.
The pack is mightier than the already mighty individuals. Scary stuff, especially for the hunted.