By Rory Carroll
OAKLAND, California (Reuters) – The Golden State Warriors moved into a commanding position in the NBA Finals with a 110-77 romp over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, the defending champions easing to victory in front of a delighted home crowd.
Draymond Green was the latest Warrior to shine as the team’s All-Star backcourt was afforded another quiet game, the power forward scoring a game-high 28 points as Golden State opened a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
MVP Stephen Curry recorded 18 points and nine rebounds but played just 25 minutes and spent much of the night cheering from the bench while his team ran rampant against a lethargic and outclassed opposition.
“What we’ve done the last few years, everybody, every night has an impact,” Curry told reporters. “You don’t know where it’s going to come from any given night. That’s why we’re in this position.”
Cleveland’s misery was compounded in the third quarter when forward Kevin Love was forced to leave the game feeling dizzy after taking a blow to the head in the second quarter. Love has been placed in concussion protocol, the Cavs said.
Cavaliers talisman LeBron James finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds but did not play in the fourth quarter once the Warriors had opened a big lead by the end of the third.
“They beat us pretty good tonight,” James said. “We understand the moment we’re in. It’s not every year you get an opportunity to be in this situation. We have to bear down.”
The Cavs return home to Cleveland for Game Three on Wednesday when they will try to make their first telling impact in what has been a disappointing mismatch to date.
Secondary scorer Kyrie Irving managed just 10 points in Game Two as Cleveland shot only 35 percent.
The Cavaliers were supposed to be better prepared for a Finals rematch with the Warriors as they entered healthier and more talented than the hobbling team that lost 4-2 a year ago, but they have been destroyed in the opening two contests.
Golden State has now beaten Cleveland seven straight times, dating back to last season’s Finals.
The latest match-up was all but decided midway through the third, when Curry went to the bench due to foul trouble and with the Warriors leading by 10.
Golden State barely missed a beat and pushed the lead to 20 heading to the fourth and never looked back.
Reserve Shaun Livingston was Golden State’s top scorer in the series opener and in Game Two they once again flashed a balanced arsenal of play-makers with Klay Thompson adding 17 points.
Green said the Warriors had learned to step up when Curry was injured earlier in the post-season.
“Steph can do so much by himself out there that when he goes out we really use each other,” Green said.
“It was very important to gain confidence when Steph went out. We had to do a little more.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by John O’Brien/Nick Mulvenney)