By Charlie O. Mallonee
In every sport, there are certain teams that every other team wants to play because they know the chances of coming away with a “W” is so great that they can taste victory before the game begins. When “King James” ruled the city by the lake, that was not the case. Going to play in the “Q” was something to be feared.
Now that LeBron has taken his “talents” to SoCal and the Lakers, playing in the “Q” has become a place for teams to get healthy. The Cavs best player Kevin Love is unavailable due to left foot surgery, and no one would be surprised if Love does not demand to be traded to a competitive team.
Things are so bad in Cleveland that the Cavaliers were the first team in the NBA to fire their head coach. Tyronn Lue who coached the Cavs to an NBA Championship in 2016 was fired after Cleveland started the season 0-6 with LeBron James in “Lakerland” and Kevin Love ailing.
The Warriors entered the game on Wednesday night with a record of 16-9 to do battle with a Cleveland squad that had recorded a record of 5-18.
Tough Road Trip
This was game four of a five-game road trip for the Warriors. They entered the contest 1-2 on the trip. The W’s had lost games in Toronto and Detroit but had bounced back into the win column in the ATL on Monday night. A victory in Cleveland was really mandatory if this was to be a successful road trip for Golden State.
First Half Battle
The Cavs served notice in the first half that they were not going to just roll over and die because they were facing the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. GSW held a six-point at the end of the first quarter, but Cleveland turned it up a notch in the second period.
Cleveland shot 68.2-percent from the floor (15/22) in the second quarter and hit seven 3-point baskets. The Cavs outscored the Warriors 39-27 for the period behind the scoring of Cedi Osman (8 pts), Jordan Clarkson (8 pts) and Larry Nance Jr. (7 pts). The Cavs also outscored the Warriors on 2nd Chance Points 8-0 in the quarter.
At the half, Cleveland held a 64-58 lead over the Golden State Warriors.
Time to go to school
The Warriors came out of the locker room after halftime fired up and ready to play. Kevin Durant led the charge for the “W’s” as he scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out two assists in the period. Durant hit 6-of-9 shots – three of which were 3-point baskets.
GSW outscored the Cavs 12-2 on the Fast Break in the quarter.
At the end of three quarters, Golden State was leading Cleveland 95-86.
Turn Out the Lights
The Cavs’ final demise came in the fourth period when Stephen Curry came alive and scored 12-points shooting 2-for-4 from the floor (both 3-point baskets) and converted 6-for-6 in opportunities from the free throw line.
Klay Thompson and Quinn Cook also added eight points apiece in the final period as the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 34-19 in last 12 minutes of the contest.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Golden State Warriors (17-9) had defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-19) 129-105. For the Warriors, it was their second consecutive win.
- Leading scorer: Steph Curry 42 points (also game high) to go with nine rebounds
- Double-double: Kevin Durant 25 points and 10 rebounds (9 assists)
- FG% 52.9 (45/85) 3FG% 52.9 (18/34) 29 Assists 9 Turnovers (17 CLE pts)
- Leading scorer: Colin Sexton 21 points (7/14 shooting)
- Double-double: Tristan Thompson 14 points and 19 rebounds
- Wow: George Hill 25:13 on the floor 0 points and 3 assists
Steve Kerr on Curry
“It’s pretty rare, but Steph is rare in general in everything he does. We’ve seen it before where Steph was out with an injury and comes back and starts lighting it up right away,” said Kerr. “The guy keeps himself in amazing shape – which allows him to come back pretty quickly if there is an injury.”
The Warriors wrap up this five-game road trip on Friday night in Milwaukee versus the very tough Bucks in a nationally televised game. The game tips off at 4:00 PM PST.
The Cavs will also be in action on Friday night when they will host the upstart Sacramento Kings at the “Q”.