Through a little more than a half of tonight’s game, the Cleveland Cavaliers appeared to have shaken loose from their recent struggles, holding the lead until about halfway through the third quarter.
But then the Golden State Warriors locked in and that was all she wrote. The reigning NBA champs ended up walking away with a 118-108 win to extend their road win streak to 13 games.
Offense was the name of the game for both teams, but it was Cleveland that eventually cooled off first, enabling the Warriors to take another win in this storied rivalry.
Klay, the fire-starter
The game opened up as a back-and-forth affair, putting the amazing offensive abilities of both teams.
Among the firepower displayed around the court, Klay Thompson’s especially stood out as he continued his hot-streak from Toronto.
As if Thompson had stuck his shooting hand in a vat of burning gasoline before the game, his stroke was on fire. He scored 13 points in only eight minutes of play, on 5-for-8, which included three three-pointers.
Kevin Durant got going towards the end of the first quarter and threw down this monster jam over LeBron James.
KD with the FLUSH over Lebron pic.twitter.com/9cp4C8bV3G— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2018
Stephen Curry would follow suit when he checked back in during the second quarter, as James found himself the victim of another highlight dagger.
A more-or-less even first half
By halftime, the Warriors were behind by seven points. Both teams had played each other pretty evenly across the board with the difference coming in a few more shots falling for the Cavaliers.
James and Kevin Love put forth routine production, stuffing the stat sheet with 30 points and 9 rebounds. But the Warriors countered that with 39 points on better-than 55% shooting from Curry, Durant and Thompson.
Aside from some pretty lazy defense, the problem offensively was that Draymond Green was ice cold from the field (1-for-6) and the Warriors’ bench couldn’t buy a bucket. David West, for example, who has been cash-money from midrange all season, was 0-for-3 on wide-open looks.
A rare Curry-dunk sighting!
Every season there are one or two moments where Curry goes for a dunk. It’s always a spectacle, even if it sometimes ends in the same disastrous fashion as that infamous China Klay dunk.
But this one cut the Cavaliers lead down to two points, following the start of the second half.
Steph Curry Dunk Alert pic.twitter.com/6iE8BcqV6K— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2018
Durant and Curry get cookin’
The third quarter saw Durant score 16 points and Curry add 11 points of his own.
Durant continued to do damage at the free-throw line, and he was a perfect 10-for-10 on charity-stripe shots entering the final frame. (He also might’ve ended up triggering every Cavaliers fans’ recurring nightmare from Game 3 of the NBA Finals.)
Kevin Durant the Flamethrower from Deep!! pic.twitter.com/s75CfbvKHF— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2018
Curry, meanwhile, did those Curry-type of things — like hitting this sort of soul-vaporizing shot.
Nothing will slow down Steph Not even Lebron pic.twitter.com/3rrakaBXXO— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2018
Rebounding and timely scoring to close it out
The Warriors ultimately pulled away in the fourth quarter behind some timely scoring and excellent rebounding by Green, Durant and West, which kept Tristan Thompson at bay.
It’s not always the glamorized side of the sport, but some great fundamentals were on display on their box outs, which would’ve made my high school coaches proud.
Shaun Livingston and Nick Young added some buckets to help extend the lead.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers ran out of gas and got cold from the field. Eventually, all the starters were pulled with a minute and half left when the lead grew to double digits.
Extra recognition is warranted to Kevon Looney, who continues to impress in his time on the court. He played great defense, especially on James, and was again always in contention for rebounds.
Although his shot was off, Green left his mark all over the game with 16 rebounds and 9 assists.
Isaiah Thomas is definitely still getting his legs under him. It will be interesting to watch his progress over the next few weeks to get a better read on how this Cavaliers’ squad might look like in the playoffs.
Alright Dub Nation, who was your Warrior Wonder for tonight?
Who was your Warrior Wonder for the win over the Cavaliers?
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