clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Recap: Here Come the Champs! Warriors Dominate in Cleveland

The Warriors returned to the scene of the crime - playing through the smell of past champagne showers - and blow out the Cavs to prove they still are the league's best

Jason Miller/Getty Images

How would the Warriors respond to the poor showing on Saturday? Would the big stage on MLK day shake Golden State going on the road to the East elite? Let's see how the game shook out!

First Quarter

How do you show the league that you haven't lost a step? You come out to a 10-2 run from the tip, hitting their first 5 shots. You continue that blitz on through the first quarter, keeping the Cavs on their toes with great defense and hot shooting to extend your lead to 15 before the quarter ends. You finish your flurry with eight straight points from Steph Curry (6-7, 16 pts in the first) to have Cleveland reeling before the game even starts.

The Warriors shook off any story of struggles with a near-perfect first quarter, shooting 61% from the field on 9 assists. They capitalized on 3 Cleveland turnovers and contested jumpers, keeping Kevin Love out of the game completely and limiting Kyrie Irving to zero points in the first. Cleveland did get hot shooting from J.R. Smith (4/5, 9 pts) and 6 from James, but that was it.

It was a balanced attack from the Warriors, getting 5 from Klay, 3 from Barnes and 4 from Ezeli. All in all, a great sign of a team that needed a strong start to shake off the loss in Detroit.

Score at the end of the 1st: 34-21

Second Quarter

Cleveland kept it's starters in to start the 2nd, as the Warriors rotated through a more shallow bench. The reserves had a harder time keeping Irving in front of them, leading to open shots from Anderson Varejao and Shumpert. The teams traded basket until the starters were able to return at the 9 minute mark. Lead by great scrambling defense, 2 thunderous dunks from Andre Iguodala on fast breaks after missed baskets, the Warriors pushed their lead to 20 at the 5 minute mark.

Luke Walton played this game like a playoff game, as he should. He would leave Ian Clark and Brandon Rush on the bench in favor of more minutes to Iguodala, Barbosa and Livingston (though Clarke would see some play toward the end of the 2nd when Curry got his 3rd foul).

As Golden State pushed on Cleveland continued to sputter showing no passing, easy mistakes and silly fouls. Timmy Mozgov would grab himself two silly fouls in less than a minute killing the crowd, pushing the Warriors to easy turnovers and solid defense and looking completely out of it through a 16-3 run. Kevin Love would leave the game with a hurt hand and would appear to be disinterested in scoring or playing defense at all during his run. The Warriors would set a new season-high for points scored agains Cleveland in a half, putting in 70.

Score at the half: 70-44

Third Quarter

Cleveland frustration showed to begin the 3rd - missing their first three shots including a Love airball. All that build up lead to a shoulder tackle by J.R. Smith leading to Mr. Smith being sent to the locker room. Guess he should have tried basketball rather than linebacker over the middle on a receiver. The Cavs showed just how mature and composed they could be facing adversity, with chippy hard fouls all night.

The Warriors fought for every loose ball tonight in ways we had not seen recently. We saw more deflections go their way, more 50/50 balls on the floor end up in their hands, and more hustle finally pay off. Both teams would shoot a fairly inefficient quarter that would find more free throws than made shots. As the Warriors ran away with it at the end of the third, the game turned a bit ugly, as LeBron James got into it with Festus Ezeli and Iguodala got checked on a layup by Shumpert. The question seems to not be if the Warriors would win, but how quickly they could get the starters to the bench so nobody would get hurt.

Score at end of the third: 104-67

Fourth Quarter

The Warriors up 40 to start the 4th? On the road? You better believe it. The forecast was for some heavy garbage time to wrap this game up, with plenty of chances for role players like Harrison Barnes and Leandro Barbosa to get some run to help get their legs back after injury. Apparently the Finals MVP decided he really loves Cleveland, hitting 2 threes to start the fourth as we started to wonder if Golden State would take this one by 50.

Not much defense was seen in the fourth by either second unit. Walton would empty the bench all the way down to Jason Thompson. The bright spots? Nobody got hurt.

Final Score: 132-98

Final Thoughts

The Warriors walked into Cleveland, embarrassed the east elite, and did it convincingly. It wasn't flashy as much as it was definitive. Golden State looked like the veterans, and Cleveland looked like the rookies who couldn't handle the pressure. Let's hope this was the correction after the wake up call, all leading up to the Warriors facing the Spurs in a week. CAN'T WAIT!!!

(Follow me on twitter @badiehard)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Golden State of Mind Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Golden State Warriors news from Golden State of Mind