The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 on Thursday, improving to 13-2. With the Cavs missing several key contributors, it looked like an easy win for Golden State. However, the Cavaliers put up a valiant effort and held a 13-point lead heading into the final quarter before the Dubs mounted a comeback.
Here are three big numbers from the Warriors victory:
Damion Lee had a game-high +30 plus/minus
While bench players like Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II, and Juan Toscano-Anderson all finished north of +20, Damion Lee finished with the best plus/minus of the team. His three-point shot has yet to return to its early-season form, but Lee was 5-for-8 from the field (4-for-5 from two) with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 0 turnovers in 23 minutes of action.
Lee was arguably the team’s best bench player before a shoulder injury forced him to the sideline for a few games. Before Thursday, he had struggled to rekindle that success since returning. However, with Andre Iguodala resting, Lee stepped up and was a key player in several huge Warrior runs.
Warriors other than Steph Curry shot 22.2% from three
For the second consecutive games, Dubs shooters other than Steph failed to shoot 25% from three. It’s a testament to their defensive efforts against the Brooklyn Nets and Cavaliers, but also another (of many) compliments to Curry.
Forced to carry the load offensively even more than usual, Steph answered the call. He took more than 37% of the team’s three-point attempts and finished 9-for-16 from three and 15-for-27 from the field. His 40 points led the way for Golden State and helped alleviate the quiet offensive games from starters Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, who finished with 20 points combined.
The Cavaliers scored 8 fourth-quarter points
The Warriors’ defensive efforts this season have not gone unnoticed, particularly in the second half. Golden State has limited opponents to less than 20 points in the third or fourth quarter in more than half of their games this season. Yet, holding an opponent to a single-digit output is even more impressive.
The Cavaliers were able to find offense early despite missing several of their best players. Players like Darius Garland, Ed Davis, and Dean Wade all got off to fantastic starts but could not build any attack in the final quarter. Even in their most inconsistent performances this season, the Warriors have always seemed to find another gear defensively. Without adequate firepower, the Cavaliers had no answer.
The Cavs finished 2-for-14 from the field in the fourth, but it was not just a case of missed shots, but wasted possession as well. Curry, Anderson, and even Nemanja Bjelica all recorded steals in the fourth quarter, and the Dubs defense forced six turnovers. It was complete domination.