The Oracle Arena was buzzing as the Warriors blew out the Cavaliers 126-91 in their second meeting of the season. The Warriors took an early lead of 8 points in the first quarter and never trailed during the course of the match.
Here are the takeaways for the Warriors:
1.) Stephen Curry had a good game
Steph Curry ended up with 20 points, 2 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 steals on 7 – 20 shooting. Although he shot only 35%, from the field, he had 10 assists by halftime, equally split amongst the two quarters. The astonishing figure was the number of turnovers; he had no turnovers till halftime. Steve Kerr, after the Christmas game, had criticized Curry’s decision making in the match and had said that he could make better decisions on the court. That is exactly what he did this time around. He had 3 turnovers at the end of the game and 11 assists.
He asserted himself early in the game and was aggressive on both ends of the floor. Durant maybe the best overall player on the team and Green the heart and soul, but Curry is their engine. Whenever he is in attack mode, the Warriors become unstoppable.
2.) The Bench
The Warriors bench outscored the Cavs’ by 14 points. The second unit with Green, Livingston, West, Clark and Iguodala started the quarter well and helped the Warriors continue their onslaught as the big-3 for the Dubs rested.
Iguodala was the pick of the lot who had 14 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists and was perfect from the field with 5 – 5. Other notable contributions include Livingston with 13 and West with 6 points.
3.) Points in the Paint
The Warriors have had problems in the paint in previous games. But they did a great job of protecting their paint and outscored the Cavs by 12 in the points in that department. They did a great job switching on defense and didn’t allow easy layups.
4.) Greens Big Time Performance
Green scored his 3rd triple double of the season as his stat sheet wrote 11, 13 and 11. He also had a steal and 5 blocked shots. Although he was given a flagrant foul as he bumped into LeBron, his energy on the defensive end fueled the Warrior’s offense all game long.
A special mention has to go to Kevin Durant. He really showed up big on the defensive end. He got his offensive running early, as he usually does, but his defense was unlike what we have seen him play. He had 2 steals and 3 block shots, including a massive block on the “King” himself.
Zaza Pachulia attacked the boards and was able to restrict Triston Thompson to just 5 rebounds.
Steve Kerr has had some changes in rotation of players in the last few games. The most notable has been the playing time of Curry and Durant. The number of minutes when both of them are on the court has increased from approximately 24 to 29 minutes per game. This surely has boosted their offense.
6.) Warriors’ Big Stats
37 fast break points, 37 assists and 11 block shots.
They now lead the NBA with 6.1 block shots, 9.4 steals and 19.2 deflections per game.
Problems for the Cavs
The Cavs weren’t playing like their normal self and looked like they were running with the motion for most of the game. Apart from the 15-1 run to end the 3rd quarter, they never could assert themselves on the offensive or defensive ends of the floor.
LeBron scored his first field goal late in the 1st quarter and never got into any sort of rhythm. Irving also had early foul troubles and didn’t shoot the ball particularly well for the rest of the game. Love had a back injury and didn’t return back to the game in the second half.
They had only 13 assists and 13 fast break points and shot 35.2% from field and 26.5% from downtown. They were down by as many as 38 at one point.
Although the Cavs are now 3-3 in their last 6 games, this loss doesn’t really affect their NBA regular season so far. The Cavs lost to the Warriors both times last year during the regular season, one of them included them being blowout by 43 points on their home court. But the Cavs still won the NBA Finals.
As mentioned, this was an important game for the Warriors. And a win of this manner would certainly help in restoring their confidence. It’s just a regular season game, but credit should be given where credit is due. They had their backs against the wall, and they did what they had to do. The Cavs had no response for their onslaught, and anybody who thinks that the Cavs weren’t trying to fight back are certainly mistaken. In the end it is evident that the Cavs weren’t at their best and the Warriors should be ready for a more competitive game if they meet in the finals. We have seen what the LeBron and company can do in come playoff time. But we haven’t seen the best from the Warriors superstars particularly in the Finals. The question still remains – can the Warriors play the same way during the NBA Finals?