Dan Feldman

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Warriors break single-game NBA Finals 3-pointers record

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NBA Finals games with more than a dozen 3-pointers made:

  • 2015-17 Warriors: 7
  • Every other team in NBA history: 7

Golden State put a cherry on top of its outside-shooting excellence in Game 2 last night. The Warriors made 18-of-43 3-pointers, breaking the single-game Finals record for 3-pointers made and tying the single-game Finals record for 3-pointers attempted – both their own, naturally.

Contributing Warriors:

The full leaderboard for 3-pointers made in an NBA Finals game:

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Warriors break NBA record for longest playoff winning streak

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Cavaliers good, Warriors better.

That’s becoming a trend in the 2017 NBA playoffs.

By overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 Finals then winning its first 10 games of the 2017 postseason, Cleveland tied the 1988-89 Lakers for the longest playoff winning streak of all-time (13). But Golden State, which became the first team to win its first 12 games of a postseason, broke that record with its 14-0 start to these playoffs.

If the Cavs don’t play better in Cleveland, the Warriors – who lead the Finals, 2-0 – could carry a 16-game win streak into easier early rounds next year.

As it stands now, here’s every team with a double-digit playoff winning streak:

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Golden State Warriors (2017): 14

  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 2017 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Utah Jazz in 2017 second round, 4-0
  • Beat San Antonio Spurs in 2017 conference finals, 4-0
  • Lead Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 NBA Finals, 2-0

Cleveland Cavaliers (2016-2017): 13

  • Beat Golden State Warriors in 2016 NBA Finals, 4-3 (won final three games)
  • Beat Indiana Pacers in 2017 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Toronto Raptors in 2017 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Boston Celtics in 2017 conference finals, 4-1 (won first two games)

Los Angeles Lakers (1988-1989): 13

  • Beat Detroit Pistons in 1988 Finals, 4-3 (won final two games)
  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 1989 first round, 3-0
  • Beat Seattle SuperSonics in 1989 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Phoenix Suns in 1989 conference finals, 4-0

Lost 1989 NBA Finals to Detroit Pistons, 4-0

Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2001): 12

  • Beat Indiana Pacers in 2000 NBA Finals, 4-2 (won final game)
  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 2001 first round, 3-0
  • Beat Sacramento Kings in 2001 second round, 4-0
  • Beat San Antonio Spurs in 2001 conference finals, 4-0

Lost first game of 2001 NBA Finals to Philadelphia 76ers, but won series 4-1

San Antonio Spurs (1999): 12

  • Beat Minnesota Timberwolves in 1999 first round, 3-1 (won final two games)
  • Beat Los Angeles Lakers 1999 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 1999 conference finals, 4-0
  • Beat New York Knicks in 1999 NBA Finals, 4-1 (won first two games)

Detroit Pistons (1989-1990): 12

  • Beat Chicago Bulls in 1989 conference finals, 4-2 (won final three games)
  • Beat Los Angeles Lakers in 1989 NBA Finals, 4-0
  • Beat Indiana Pacers in 1990 first round, 3-0
  • Beat New York Knicks in 1990 second round, 4-1 (won first two games)

Cleveland Cavaliers (2016): 10

  • Beat Boston Celtics in 2016 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Atlanta Hawks in 2016 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Toronto Raptors in 2016 conference finals, 4-2 (won first two games)

San Antonio Spurs (2012): 10

  • Beat Utah Jazz in 2012 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Los Angeles Clippers in 2012 second round, 4-0
  • Lost to Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 conference finals, 4-2 (won first two games)

New Jersey Nets (2003): 10

  • Beat Milwaukee Bucks in 2003 first round, 4-2 (won final two games)
  • Beat Boston Celtics in 2003 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Detroit Pistons in 2003 conference finals, 4-0

Lost first game of 2003 NBA Finals to San Antonio Spurs and lost series, 4-2

Dahntay Jones throws Stephen Curry to the floor (video)

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Watch Dahntay Jones‘ method of chasing an offensive rebound. He scoots behind Stephen Curry and tosses the Warriors star to the floor.

Could this just be Jones’ weighing risk-reward in the context of the game, a desperation play as the Cavaliers were losing big late, and not something dirtier? He should get no benefit of the doubt. Stirring up trouble in garbage time is Jones’ role on this team.

Kevin Durant’s defense shines in elite two-way performance

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Kevin Durant stonewalled a Kevin Love postup, blocked Love’s baby hook with his left hand, snatched the loose ball, tucked it under his arm and turned to read the court.

As he looked ahead, he saw no peers.

Durant turned in a devastating defensive performance – five blocks, three steals and 11 defensive rebounds – in the Warriors’ 132-113 Game 2 win over the Cavaliers in  the NBA Finals on Sunday. The only players to get even three-quarters of those defensive stats in an NBA Finals game since the league instituted a 16-team playoff in 1984:

  • Dwight Howard in 2009 Magic-Lakers Game 2 (four blocks, four steals and 13 defensive rebounds)
  • Tim Duncan in 2003 Spurs-Nets Game 1 (seven blocks, three steals and 17 defensive rebounds)
  • Hakeem Olajuwon in 1986 Rockets-Celtics Game 4 (four blocks, four steals and nine defensive rebounds)

That’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (Howard), 15-time All-Defensive teamer (Duncan) and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (Olajuwon).

And Durant.

Durant infamously entered the NBA unable to bench press 185 pounds then built a reputation as a lanky finesse scorer. But through sheer force of will, Durant has developed into one of the NBA’s better defenders. A de facto 7-footer, his length is a huge asset – especially considering his mobility. He can block shots on and off the ball and erase passing lanes. He has gotten strong enough and tough enough to body traditional bigs, and his defensive awareness is off the charts.

“Kevin’s defense was unreal, and it was probably the key to the whole game,” said Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who deployed Durant at center in Game 2.

Engaged like he is in these Finals, Durant rivals Kawhi Leonard and even LeBron James as the best two-way player in the NBA. Remember, Durant was in the thick of the MVP race until he got hurt. The 28-year-old is summoning another gear in the Finals, one the 32-year-old LeBron is struggling to maintain.

Durant’s offensive performance tonight would’ve stood up on its own: 33 points, six assists and two offensive rebounds. He’s just taking it to the Cavs.

After blocking Love, Durant pushed the ball against a retreating Cleveland defense, blew by LeBron and banked in a shot as Love pushed him down. Draymond Green, who enthusiastically celebrated the sequence by flexing on the bench, was asked whether he transferred his flexing power to Durant.

“That was a man play. I don’t really know if I could put this power,” Green said while showing off his bicep then tapping Durant’s, “in these arms, though.”

Don’t let Durant’s frame fool you.

His shoulders can carry plenty of weight.

Fans fight in front of LeBron James after Warriors beat Cavaliers in Game 2

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LeBron James and the Cavaliers are returning to Cleveland facing a 2-0 deficit against the Warriors in the NBA Finals, but LeBron’s exit from Oakland was delayed slightly by a fight in the stands.

Getting between LeBron and the scuffle was the best thing J.R. Smith did all night.