The Cleveland Cavaliers had to be expecting to extend their season-high three-game winning streak when they saw a depleted Golden State Warriors team coming to town. After solid wins the last three outings, a team missing three starters, Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut, along with backup Carl Landry should not be an issue for the Cavaliers.
That turned out not to be the case, as the Warriors took care of business by having other guys step up and get the job done. They left Cleveland with a 108-95 road win and snapped the Cavaliers streak.
All three victories coincided with Kyrie Irving scoring 30 or more points, but the Eastern Conference Player of the Week would come up short on this night, just as his team would. Irving missed shoot around earlier in the day due to an illness and he did not look like himself throughout the game. The All-Star point guard finished with 14 points and four assists.
While Irving was not able to get it going, his opponents' guards really were. It is no secret at this point in the season that Cleveland has issues defending that spot, but it was as obvious tonight as it has been all season. Klay Thompson scored a career-high 32 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Jarett Jack – starting in place of Curry – finished with 26 points and a career-high tying 12 assists.
It was not just the guard play for Golden State, as their All-Star power forward David Lee had 20 points and 13 rebounds for another double-double on the season.
The Warriors, knowing some of their second team would have to step up, came out ready to play. They opened the game on a fast 13-4 run and, though the Cavaliers were able to respond and pull the game level, they never really seemed in danger.
Once the Cavaliers had settled into the game and made things interesting, Golden State turned it on again to close out the first half, outscoring Cleveland 32-21 in the period for an 11-point halftime lead. While the Cavaliers did get the lead down to as little as eight, the Warriors were always in control, as they shot 54% from the field and 69% from three-point range.
Despite the loss, Cleveland did put up good offensive numbers, as six players scored in double figures. Unfortunately, no one was able to take Irving's scoring load, with the highest point man being Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson at 18. Waiters also contributed seven assists, while Thompson grabbed 11 rebounds for another double-double.
Tyler Zeller scored 16 points and recent acquisition Marreese Speights scored 12 off the bench to go along with five rebounds. C.J. Miles also had 10 points in a reserve role, but starter Alonzo Gee failed to score, or contribute much at all, going 0-for-5 from the field.
The Cavaliers will hope Irving is feeling better, as they attempt to right the ship Friday. They travel to take on the Detroit Pistons, a team only four and a half games a head of Cleveland in the standings. Starting a new winning streak may be difficult, as the Oklahoma City Thunder come to Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, but Cleveland will look to focus on getting that first win before moving to the next team.
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