Golden State did exactly what it took to beat the league’s worst
team Tuesday night – led by a pesky defense and their starting
guards, who combined for 47 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and
five steals. Then, after the game, they indulged in some chicken
wings and Li’l Wayne, got dressed and headed to New Jersey.
There wasn’t much joy bubbling in the locker room after the Golden State Warriors’ 95-85 win over the Cavaliers.
Golden State did exactly what it took to beat the league’s worst team Tuesday night – led by a pesky defense and their starting guards, who combined for 47 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and five steals. Then, after the game, they indulged in some chicken wings and Li’l Wayne, got dressed and headed to New Jersey.
It was so matter of fact, and it was exactly how this road trip was supposed to go.
“In a perfect world, for sure,” point guard Stephen Curry said after totaling 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists. “That’s what the good teams do. If we want to be that caliber of a team, we’ve got to come with it every night.”
The Warriors are now 2-4 on this seven-game road trip. Three of the losses were to losing teams, one against the team with the worst record in the Western Conference (Minnesota).
But Tuesday, the Warriors “handled business” and they did it with defense.
The Cavaliers dropped 30 points in the first quarter, prompting Golden State to turn it up a notch. After that, the Cavaliers managed 55 over the next three quarters. They shot 36.5 percent for the game.
“I thought our effort defensively was pretty good,” said forward David Lee, who finished with 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. “Tonight was all about which team wanted it more. It was one of those breakout nights we had to play hard and just push through it for 48 minutes.”
The Warriors trailed by as much as 12 in the first quarter. But Curry eventually got the team going. He scored eight points in the first four minutes of the second quarter, his 3-pointer pulling the Warriors within 37-30 at the 8:10 mark. His steal and layup later capped a 14-4 run that gave the Warriors a 44-43 lead. Golden State led by one at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Monta Ellis.
“At the time,” Ellis said, “I was just feeling it. My teammates kept giving me the ball. … I just had the confidence to knock them down.”
He scored 17 points in the third quarter, knocking down all five of his 3-point attempts.
Ellis dropped in 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, the latter at the 4:20 mark, capping a 21-8 Warriors run to open the third quarter. Golden State pushed its lead to 76-61 in the final minute of the third quarter after another Ellis 3.
Of course, Cleveland made an inevitable run. But once Golden State’s lead was trimmed to 78-74 with some eight minutes left _ after Christian Eyenga dunked home a lob from Baron Davis _ the Warriors simply pulled away again.
Ellis started it with a 3-pointer, his career-best sixth of the game. Minutes later, Curry and Lee sealed it with clutch offensive rebounds and put-backs on consecutive possessions. Lee’s layup put the Warriors up 95-83 with 2:21 left. Game.
After the game in the locker room, Ellis could be seen wincing and moving gingerly. His right wrist had been hurting him. Tuesday, his left thigh needed attention But his response to his bumps and bruises mirrored the businesslike approach that marked Tuesday’s win.
“I’ve got some bangs,” said Ellis, his eye still red from being poked at Boston on Friday. “But that comes with the game. Can’t worry about that. We’ve got 19 more. We’ve got to ride it out.”
– Warriors swingman Reggie Williams played a season-low three minutes Tuesday. It seemed most of his minutes went to Al Thornton. The recently acquired forward knocked down all three of his shots and finished with nine points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. Thornton is 6 for 7 from the field as a Warrior.
_Davis finished with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench against his former team. He also had three steals and a block.
— Story by Marcus Thompson II, Contra Costa Times