ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Golden State has rolled to 14 consecutive postseason victories and seems even harder to beat with small forward Kevin Durant playing superbly and averaging 35.5 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the series.
As the series shifted to Cleveland, it was obvious that the Cavs were going to have more energy.
WATCH: Warriors' pace wearing out the Cavaliers? That means the series may hinge on James's enormous basketball intellect.
It was his pull-up three-pointer over LeBron James with 45 seconds remaining that gave the Warriors their first lead since late in the third quarter that had everyone talking.
Smith made five 3-pointers and scored 16 points, and Kevin Love gutted his way to nine points and 13 rebounds on a night he shot just 1 for 9.
But also: Only the greatest of great teams ever are faced with moments like this.
"I'm human, as well as my teammates, and to lay it all on the line like that, you want to come out on the winning side", Irving said. James will now have to find a way to combat the Warriors with Durant. "That's a Coach Lue question", James said. "It's totally different, because he's got somebody like Draymond to put the battery in his back and get him going". More than anything, perhaps, his mind sets him apart.
James became the first player to appear in 20 or more Finals games with two franchises. He thinks the game. "He can look at an offensive alignment by the opposition, and he can tell you exactly what they're going to do, what they're looking for". He is an extension of the coach, that's without a doubt. "He's so focused on what the other team is doing".
The Cavaliers might have beaten anybody else the way they played, just as they did in Game 3 of last year's Finals and as they did while rolling into the Finals with a 12-1 record.
"He's a student of the game", forward Tristan Thompson said between Game 1 and Game 2. "I'm just trying to take as much of that away as possible". "And just we obviously - we want 16 wins; it doesn't matter how we get there". But you get a lot more from getting a ring.
James is largely an independent student. "I think we're moving the ball great, we're shooting the ball at a high clip and our defense has been unbelievable". "When I say everything, I mean everything". "He's never out of the play, and he can contest every shot". He really does his homework.
For what it's worth, no team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the National Basketball Association playoffs. "I can't blame them", he said. "The game is too fresh". We play our game.
Curry drained all 14 free-throw attempts in Game 2 after not attempting a single one in the opener.
"It's probably the most firepower I've played in my career". He refused to hold a postgame press conference after Game 2, instead speaking to reporters in a scrum inside Cleveland's locker room. He's perhaps the only player in the National Basketball Association who physically can match James.
But he has also shown belief. Harrison Barnes, the player Durant replaced in the Warriors' lineup, scored 65 for the whole series.
"I always feel good", James said.