“We know this is far from over. We know how hard it is to be the best team in the League.”—Kevin Durant
Now it is becoming official.
ABC’s NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy started the conversation late in Game 2 when he asked if Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were the greatest duo of all-time?
Meanwhile, in the background, KD and Steph were answering in unison with buckets, boards and backdoor passes that shouted a resounding “YES!” to the question as Durant was compiling a 33-13-6 point-rebound-assist stat line, while Curry posted 32-10-11 as their Golden State Warriors went up 2-0 in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals with a 132-113 home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Every game is different. That’s the beauty of the Finals.”—Stephen Curry
The JVG question was a topic we addressed Wednesday in our preview of this series when we mentioned the Dubs’ dynamic duo’s dominance, noting how San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were the last Finals duo (400-minute minimum) to post 25-plus postseason Player Efficiency Ratings in NBA history (and you had to round up Duncan’s 24.9 and Ginobili’s 24.8 to get there).
The only other Finals duo to hit 25-plus PERs was Shaquille O’Neal (28.7 PER) and Kobe Bryant (25.0) from the 2001 Lakers.
Entering Game 2, Curry had a 28.1 postseason PER, while Durant had a 27.1 as the two former NBA MVPs played like postseason Most Valuable Players once again, helping the Warriors increase their postseason record to a history-making 14-0.
How does anyone keep up with that, especially when the two Warriors are surrounded by another All-NBA teammate who is up for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award after two runners-up finishes (Draymond Green), not to mention another All-Star teammate (Klay Thompson), not to mention a 2015 Finals MVP teammate (Andre Iguodala), a former All-Star teammate (David West) and an assortment of other Warriors who might go down in history as teammates on the NBA’s greatest team ever.
Easy money 💰 pic.twitter.com/R5BaxSixdU
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 5, 2017
What is inarguable, however, is that Curry and Durant are becoming the greatest playoffs duo of all-time.
Their efficiency tops everybody else, no matter how you measure it—most of their numbers are even escalating in the postseason when normal numbers decline.
Their PERs and true shooting percentages from their already-impressive regular season numbers are truly awesome (Curry, from .624 regular season to .674 postseason true shooting percentage, and Durant, from .651 to .673; Curry from 24.7 regular season PER to 28.1 postseason PER entering Game 2 and Durant, from 27.6 to 27.1).
✔️ First career triple-double in an NBA Finals game pic.twitter.com/7m2wR3MqiX
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 5, 2017
Each had +21 plus-minus scores Sunday, which basically means the Warriors were winning by 21 in the 36 minutes that Curry played in Game 2, while the Cavs were winning by 2 in the 12 minutes he didn’t in Game 2.
Conversely, the same is true for Durant, whose +21 in 41 minutes is countered by the Cavs winning by 2 in the 7 minutes he did not play.
That is how truly dynamic these two are—moving up everybody’s all-time dynamic duos with each postseason victory.
UPDATE After KD's 33-13-6 & Curry's 32-10-11
1. Peanut Butter & Chocolate
2. Hall & Oates
3. Curry & Durant
4. Batman & Robin
5. Rock & Roll https://t.co/BAMcNinnqr
— Darryl Howerton (@darrylhowerton) June 5, 2017
It is only a matter of time—perhaps following a Game 3 or Game 4 victory—before Curry & Durant replace peanut butter & jelly as the world’s most beloved duo of all-time.
LeBron James knows this all too well.
King James had himself another classic postseason effort, besting even Curry’s triple-double with a 29-11-14 stat line on a .718 true shooting percentage, but the four-time NBA MVP just did not have another former MVP at his side like the 2013-14 MVP Durant or the 2014-15 and 2015-16 MVP Curry.
No matter how valiantly fellow All-Stars Kevin Love (27 points on 23 shots with 7 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (19 points on 23 shots with 7 assists) tried, there is no way either could keep up with dynamic duo pacesetting.
Especially on a night where the Warriors outrebounded the Cavs by 12, while defensive ace Klay Thompson got out of his shooting slump, scoring 22 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting and 4-of-5 two-point shooting on an .826 true shooting percentage.
It hardly matters if Draymond Green was limited with foul trouble (12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 fouls in 25 minutes) if the old dynamic duo Splash Brothers is hot in sync with the Dynastic Duo.
Because of that, Durant, Curry and Thompson each made 4 three-pointers, while the rest of the team also contributed in the Warriors 18-triples Finals-record performance.
That’s how great these 2017 Warriors are.
That is how dynamic Durant and Curry have made this dynastic team.
|Players||MIN||+/-||PTS (TSP)||2FG||3FG||FT||REB||AST/TO||STL & BLK|
|Stephen Curry||36||+21||32 (.691)||3-6||4-11||14-14||10||11/8||1 & 0|
|Kevin Durant||41||+21||33 (.708)||9-14||4-8||3-3||13||6/3||3 & 5|
Key: MIN minutes; +/- plus-minus; PTS points; TSP true shooting percentage; 2FG 2-point field goals and attempts; 3FG 3-point field goals and attempts; FT free throws and attempts; REB rebounds; AST/TO assists/turnovers; STL & BLK steals and blocks.