Cleveland Cavaliers embarrassed by shorthanded Golden State Warriors in 120-114 loss

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland Cavaliers have a new leader in the clubhouse for the worst loss of the season. And this one will be hard to beat.

Although Golden State played without four of its usual starters at the end of a grueling road trip, the Cavs lost to the B-team Warriors on Friday night, 120-114. It’s Cleveland’s third loss in the last four games and the first at home since Dec. 26 against the Brooklyn Nets.

Humiliating. Ashamed. Pathetic. Disconcerting. Ugly. Choose an adjective. They all agree.

The Cavs were unprepared, unmotivated and lifeless. It started from the jump, when the Warriors exploded for 15 points in the first four minutes – and kept rolling, even with their best players in street clothes.

“We didn’t respect the game. It’s as simple as that,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said after the loss. “They have champions there, and we thought some of those guys were missing, so we were going to take it lightly and got what we deserved.”

After the Warriors lost in overtime in Boston about 24 hours earlier, coach Steve Kerr sat superstar Stephen Curry with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. Reserves Andre Iguodala and James Wiseman were also unavailable. Kerr said before the whistleblower that he was playing the long game, trying to juggle his rotation and field a competitive lineup while resting and recovering enough for his high-minute regulars.

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Curry recently returned after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury and recorded 43 minutes in Thursday’s loss to Boston.

Those absences seemed like a break for the Cavs – even if they didn’t have leading scorer Donovan Mitchell due to a groin injury or veteran backup Ricky Rubio, who was retained for maintenance related to his left knee. surgically repaired.

Instead, Cleveland was punked by the understaffed Warriors — a group of fiery snipers who turned out the lights.

Building the lead to 20 points in the third quarter, before holding off on another signing, a too-not-too-late comeback attempt by the Cavs, Golden State — without nearly everyone else — dumped 23 triples. He was just two away from equaling a season high. Just four off the franchise record. The Warriors went 23 of 43 from deep, many of them unchallenged. The 14 marks in the first half were the best of the season.

“They’re good basketball players, and if you disrespect them, they’ll make you pay,” Bickerstaff said. “We came out of the gate soft and disrespectful, and they were over there firing warm-up shots with no contest, no challenges, no one in their space and they gave us what we deserved.”

Jordan Poole, the only available member of Thursday’s starting lineup in Boston, led the way. He finished with a game-high 32-for-10-of-23 from the field and 5-of-12 from beyond the arc in 41 minutes. Ty Jerome added 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 3-of-4 from deep, including a timely stab to push Golden State ahead by seven points after the Cavs cut the lead to just four around the two-minute mark. . Donte DiVincenzo finished with 17.

In all, eight Warriors have scored at least one hat-trick. Steph who? Clay who? Golden State didn’t need the Splash Brothers to overwhelm Cleveland’s selfless defense.

The Cavs finished with a defensive rating of 122.0, a far cry from their second season in the standings. The Warriors led for almost 43 minutes. There were only seven lead changes and two ties.

“I don’t think we’ve forgotten them. They’re in the league for a reason,” Darius Garland said. “They started the first quarter. When you get into the first you get confident so that carries through the game and that’s what it was.

Garland finished with 31 points and 10 assists. Caris LeVert chipped in with 22. Evan Mobley added 17 points and seven rebounds.

“I prepare for every game the same way,” LeVert said. “But I think we obviously didn’t play well. We did not play as we wanted to play. There were a lot of breakdowns defensively, a lot of mistakes in scouting reports, things that we don’t normally do. We just didn’t play well. They are still champions, and the way they play, they stretch the field. They move the ball around and shoot a lot of 3s. But we just didn’t really get it tonight.

Ahead of the game, Bickerstaff said his side needed to take a professional approach and play to the same standards despite facing a shorthanded group.

No way around this. The Cavs failed to meet that standard. Unfortunately. Embarrassing.

All-Star Post

While the Cavaliers pushed for Garland to join teammate Mitchell in Salt Lake City for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, Garland continues to lag behind in the fan vote, which means his All-Star destiny will be probably in the hands of NBA coaches who are responsible for choosing reserves. So what is Bickerstaff’s message to his fellow coaches?

“It’s the same as last year: he has an impact on winning,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s what we appreciate, that’s winning. We want guys to represent the right things and Darius represents all the right things. He is selfless. He’s a great teammate. He’s a hell of a player, on top of that, but that’s what we want the players to be as coaches. He helps a team win at a level that I think should be recognized.

Next

The Cavs host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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