CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers increased their pace of play in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals, but the Golden State Warriors answered with multiple scoring runs, and that led to a 132-113 victory and 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Although the Cavaliers lost Game 2 by 19 points despite generating 12 more shots than in the Game 1 loss in Oakland, they are going to continue playing their style, which means using defense to generate extra possessions and transition baskets.
“We play at our pace,” Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said after Tuesday’s practice. “We play our game. We got to this point playing our way. We have won a lot of games playing the way we play, so we're not going to change.
“We don't play slow-down basketball.”
Cleveland Cavaliers practice ahead of Wednesday's Game 3 matchup with Golden State Warriors
The increase in pace of play helped the Cavaliers generate more shots, and also, raised their level of productivity in multiple phases on offense.
The Cavaliers knocked down 45 of their 100 looks, which was markedly better than the 30-of-86 performance in Game 1
Additionally, the Cavaliers handed out 12 more assists (27) and held a 60-40 advantage in interior scoring after getting outscored, 56-30, in the paint during the Game 1 loss.
“We have to play fast,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “That's our game. You saw early in the first half when LeBron's able to attack and get downhill with the floor open, that's when we're at our best. If they help, kicking it out for threes, we want to play with a pace, but to play with pace, you’ve got to get stops. When we get stops, we want to get out and run. We want to play with pace and we want to attack early.”
The key for the Cavaliers when ramping up the tempo is playing controlled basketball.
The Cavaliers cut their turnovers by 55 percent from Game 1 (20) to Game 2 (nine), and on the other side of the show, their aggressiveness on defense led to 23 points off of Golden State’s 20 miscues.
“We just have to take care of the basketball,” Lue said. “I think taking good shots when we're playing with pace and not turning the basketball over, letting them get out in transition, that's our game. We're not going to change our game because of who we're playing.
“I'm confident that we can play that way, and we did it last year. A lot of people said we couldn't, but that's our game. That's who we are, and we're not going to change just because we're playing Golden State.”
“We’ve got to play our game and play with pace, but we can't get in a hurry. We can't take bad shots. We can't turn the basketball over. And in that first half, we saw we were playing with pace, getting downhill, LeBron getting into the paint, getting layups and dunks. That's how we’ve got to play.”