Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, right, hugs Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry before an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
by Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors had this game marked on their calendar since last June 19th when they lost game 7 and the NBA Championship to the Cavaliers. Losing a game in a regular season hurts but not as much as in the playoffs. The Dubs really wanted to beat Cleveland Sunday and it looked like that was a strong possibility as the Dubs led by 14 94-80 early in the fourth quarter. The Cavs went on a 14-1 run to trail by three. The Dubs were just not able to put the game away. Steph Curry made a three-point shot to put them ahead 108105 with 1:14 left in the game. The Dubs did not score again and Cleveland, behind Kyrie Irving’s bucket with 3.4 seconds left, won the game for Cleveland 109-108.
The game was a thriller from start to finish. The Dubs led most of the way, but the Cavs kept coming back. The Dubs’ biggest lead until the fourth quarter was 49-38 in the second quarter, but the Cavs went on a 12-1 run and trailed by three 55-52 at the half. Draymond Green was called for two fouls in the first three minutes of the first quarter. He also was called for his 7th technical of the year when he complained to the refs that he was kicked by a Cleveland player. They didn’t listen, and Draymond had to sit out the entire first quarter.
Kevin Durant led the Warrior attack with twelve in the first 12 minutes of play. LeBron James had 6, Kevin Love 7, and Kyrie Irving 5 to lead Cleveland. The Dubs led by two 27-25 at the end of the quarter. Klay Thompson started to score in the second quarter. Klay hit 2 3-point shots, and Steph had one.
The Dubs led by 11, but Cleveland went on a 12-1 run to tie the game at 50. Zaza Pachulia scored a deuce and KD hit a three. Cleveland score and the half ended with the Warriors up by three. KD Led the Dubs with 17, Klay had 13 and Steph was held to 6 points by the Cavaliers’ DeAndre Liggins. Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Channing Frye were the leading scorers for the Cavs. The Dubs shot 46.2% from the floor, and they held the Cavs to 33.3%. However, the Cavs had more rebounds, especially on offense, and took more shots and were able to stay close.
The Warriors continued to hold the lead in the third quarter. Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson all played well in the quarter. The Cavs’ LeBron James scored 16, but the Dubs were able to increase the lead to 87-80 at the end of the third quarter. The Dubs went on a 7-0 run to start the final stanza and were up by 14 when things started going south.
The Cavs continued to chip away at the lead and finally tied the game at 105 late in the quarter. Curry hit a three but, perhaps the key play was a Klay Thompson 3-point shot that was waved off by the refs as the 24-second shot clock expired. Had the shot counted the Dubs would have won but as mentioned earlier, they lost.
Game Notes- The Dubs fall to 27-5 while Cleveland improves to 23-6. Kevin Durant was fantastic for Golden State with 36 points, 3 assists, and 15 rebounds. Klay Thompson added 24. Draymond had 16 point, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Steph Curry was held to 15. He did make 2 3-poin shots, and the one he made late in the game almost won the Dubs the game.The Warriors committed 19 turnovers while Cleveland did better holding on to the ball as they lost it just 12 times.
The Warriors return home to face the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. Game time will be at 7:30 pm.