The Warriors weren’t those back-to-back Thursday (that comes Friday night in Detroit), but it looked like they could be up for most of their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Thursday night.
The Warriors began slowly and sluggishly and worked out. But in the fourth quarter, Golden State found a different spark that pushed them to an amazing 104-89 victory.
Steph Curry was the one who led the Warriors (13-2) to their victory, but it was Nemanja Bjelica and Damion Lee who helped bring the game together.
Bjelica was the only Warriors to go early, scoring 14 points in the first half. Lee found his groove in the fourth, scoring nine of his 11 points in the fourth.
The fourth quarter is when the whole game has changed, with the Warriors opening the period down 13 points, only to beat the Cavs 36-8 and win by 15. And all thanks to Curry, who scored 20 points in the final quarter.
Here are three highlights of the night:
The Steph Effect
Like I said, the reason the Warriors won Thursday night was because of Curry.
He finished the night with 40 points on a 15-of-27 shooting, including a 9-of-16 from a 3-point range. This was Curry’s 38th time hitting at least nine triples in a game, and made up more than half of Golden State’s 3-pointers (14) in the win.
Even if other guys started in the final half of the fourth quarter, it was because of the gravitational pull that Curry has.
As Curry was the only one seen as a threat on the court by the Cavs’ defense, they began double and triple-teaming him. As he cut to the basket, the entire defense would collapse inside.
And finally, unlike any other moment in the game, Curry’s teammates – mostly Lee – were able to capitalize and knock down the open shot. By the time defenders finally began to show them respect, they were already in rhythm.
Leave down on the boards
Just two days ago, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the most surprising aspect of his team to date has been their rebound. They were surprisingly good.
But against the Knights, the Warriors were brutally overtaken, and they paid the price.
Cleveland beat Golden State 42-34 in the game. To make matters worse, the Cavs received 13 offensive rebounds to the Warriors’ five. This led to Cleveland receiving 21 second-chance points to the Warriors’ seven.
Defense lacked the usual effort
One of the reasons Cleveland was able to get so many offensive boards and second-chance points was because the Warriors ’defense was poor through three quarters.
Golden State lacked effort for that purpose, falling asleep in a few readings, and only failing to put a body under the edge at another time.
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And whenever they managed to put together a few good seconds of defense, the Cavs were saved by a foul.
Everything changed in the fourth quarter when the Warriors held the Cavs to a 2-of-14 shooting from the field and limited them to just eight points.
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