The Warriors snapped the Cavaliers three game win-streak despite being without their best player. Sorry David Lee fans, but Curry is by far Golden State’s most valuable player.
The loss ends Cleveland’s hot streak that saw them record three straight victories against opponents above them in the standings. After Kyrie Irving’s incredible three-pointer to steal the 99-98 victory against the Toronto Raptors, some in Cleveland began mentioning a potential run at the final playoff seed. With the news Curry wouldn’t be able to play, it appeared the Cavaliers streak had a good chance of continuing before the Warriors quickly showed they had other plans.
The top three scorers in the contest all belonged to Golden State. Klay Thompson had a phenomenal outing with 32 points, seven rebounds and three blocks while shooting 6-for-8 from the three-point line. Lee, the team’s only all-star because Western Conference coaches clearly have no respect for Curry, delivered 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists while going 8 for 12 from the field. Meanwhile, Curry’s replacement in the starting line-up, Jarrett Jack, stepped up and finished with 26 points and 12 assists.
The Cavaliers have no reason to hang their heads even though the Warriors were without Curry. Cleveland battled hard throughout the contest, and even attempted a late game run cutting the deficit to eight despite being down by as many as 16, proving the young roster has little understanding of the word “quit”.
It was the second time this season the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers after a 106-96 victory in Golden State on Nov. 7. Lee also had a double-double in that contest while Irving was a near triple-double threat finishing with 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Unfortunately, the Warriors were better prepared for the young point guard this time around, as they limited Irving to nearly half his production from the first game. Irving finished with only 14 points, four assists, and three rebounds in the game.
Being prepared for defensive adjustments against tougher opponents the second time around is something the 20 year-old guard will need to get better at as his career progresses. It should be pointed out he was battling the flu against Golden State, however the lesson about defensive adjustments by the opposition is still something the second year guard most grow more comfortable with. Given the development Irving has shown so far this season, that is something he’ll likely quickly continue to improve on.
It’s scary to think Irving could still be a junior in college, yet has already proven he can play at one the highest levels in the best basketball league in the world.