Durant's 'amazing' defense hailed by Warriors coach Kerr

Updated: 

Kevin Durant's offense was the highlight of the NBA Finals opener between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it was his efforts at the other end of the floor that stood out for returning coach Steve Kerr in game two.

After starting the series with a game-high 38 points, as well as nine rebounds and eight assists, Warriors star Durant displayed his defensive qualities in a 132-113 victory over the Cavs - which opened up a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series - at Oracle Arena on Sunday.

The former MVP accounted for five of Golden State's seven blocks, three of their five steals and 11 defensive rebounds, a contribution that proved key with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Draymond Green racking up five personal fouls and having to be used sparingly.

Although Durant still put up 33 points, Kerr - back on the bench for the first time since the Warriors' opening playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers having suffered from discomfort stemming from back surgery - was most impressed by his contribution going back.

"His defense was amazing, and we needed it especially with Draymond out," Kerr said of Durant.

"It's a small game and you've got shooters everywhere and you have to be able to protect the rim with LeBron [James] coming down hill, with [Kevin] Love posting up and Draymond's on the bench.

"That's a pretty scary proposition for us and I thought Kevin's defense was unreal and was probably the key to the whole game, along with the perimeter defence of Klay [Thompson] and Andre [Iguodala], trying to do their best with Kyrie [Irving] and LeBron. But KD was amazing."

The Warriors had just four turnovers in the whole of game one - a figure James alone doubled - but that increased to 20 on Sunday, with Kerr making it clear he will not accept a repeat performance when the series continues at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday.

"I mean that's been the focus the last two days - can we repeat the formula? The answer was no, we did not repeat," he said.

"[This] was a game based on talent, we had a lot of guys who played exceptionally well individually and we played with great energy.

"But heading to Cleveland we're going to have to be a lot smarter. We play that same game in Cleveland there's no way we win."

The Warriors are now 14-0 in the postseason, but the coach warned against complacency after the Cavs surged back from 3-1 down to win last year's Finals between the two sides.

Kerr said: "It's been a great run, but none of that matters unless we can finish the job with this series. Trust me, we know, it was 2-0 last year and we lost.

"Playing an unbelievably good, competitive team, dominant team. They have what two, three losses the whole playoffs? Now we've got go back there, this is where the series changed last year."