Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have been an unsolvable equation in the NBA Finals.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers feature the best player in the world in LeBron James, Golden State boast something that has so far proven to be even better – the league’s best duo.
Durant and Curry have seemingly taken turns burning Cleveland through the first two games of the series at Oracle Arena, with their 65 combined points paving the way for another lopsided win in Game 2’s 132-113 trashing on Sunday night.
“It seemed like it’s personal for both of them,” Draymond Green said. “And you are talking two of the greatest players that we got in this world locked in the way they are, that’s why we’re up 2-0.”
When Durant chose to sign with the Warriors last summer, the feeling was that from the All-Star trio of Curry, Green and Klay Thompson, the two-time reigning MVP may be the one sacrificing the most going forward – both in terms of on-court production and as the face of the franchise.
It hasn’t always been perfectly equal footing between Curry and Durant this season, but the Finals have shown that their natural
unselfishness as players, coupled with Golden State’s culture, can overcome a draconian necessity to have star team-mates placed in a pecking order.
Arguably two of the top five players in the NBA, Durant and Curry haven’t just coexisted, but thrived in the Finals with each flexing their full range of talents. Both have unsurprisingly scored efficiently from inside and outside the arc, while Durant has exhibited his much-improved defence and Curry has flashed his handles and passing.
They’ve both had their fair share of signature moments, with Durant blocking a shot before going coast-to-coast for a highlight finish and Curry knocking down his range-less 3-pointers. When the two have shared the court, the Warriors are averaging 124.7 points per 100 possessions and outscoring opponents by 24.3 points per 48 minutes in the playoffs.
“They’re two of our leaders we follow,” Green said. “With them playing like that, it’s ‘everybody has to be locked in,’ when you got two guys locked in like that.
“So they continue to do that, which I have no doubt in my mind they will, we’ll continue to follow their lead.”
Everything is going right for Golden State, but by the numbers, they’re in nearly the exact same position as they were in last year before they blew a 3-1 lead.
The 2016 Warriors had outscored Cleveland by 48 points and led for 80 minutes through the first two games, while this year those figures are plus-41 and 86, respectively.
“None of that matters unless we can finish the job with this series,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We know, trust me, we know. It was 2-0 last year and we lost.”
That team didn’t have Durant though and they also didn’t have an in-form Curry.
It’s impossible to count out James, but Golden State seem to have found the solution.