When a young team like the Cavaliers commits 25 turnovers – whether it’s on the West Coast or in the cozy confines of The Q, it’s going to be difficult to win.
As they had in Portland on the recently-concluded roadie out west, the Wine and Gold got sloppy with the basketball – committing 25 total miscues and falling, 105-95, in their Tuesday night homecoming at Quicken Loans Arena.
In an up-and-down affair, the Cavaliers were on top, 87-85, with just over nine minutes to play. But Cleveland ran out of gas down the stretch and watched the Warriors go on a 20-8 run to close the contest.
If the problem was that Tuesday’s contest was the second game of a back-to-back for Cleveland, Coach Byron Scott dispelled that immediately after the loss.
“I don’t buy that,” said a visibly unhappy head coach. “It was Golden State’s fourth game in five nights – so that’s a bunch of bull. That’s an excuse and that’s something we’re not going to tolerate. We just lost the game because we were terrible on the offensive end as far as turning the ball over. Period.”
Antawn Jamison notched 12 of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter, going an even 7-for-14 from the floor.
Kyrie Irving followed up with 18 points and a team-high five helpers. Omri Casspi (11 points) and Anderson Varejao (10) rounded out the starters in double-figures. Semih Erden had easily his best game in a Cavaliers uniform – tallying 14 points in the loss.
Despite a distinct advantage on the boards, the error-prone Cavs took 12 less shots than Golden State, which turned the ball over just a dozen times. The Wine and Gold’s second unit, normally one of the team’s strengths, was easily outdone by the Warriors reserves – 50-31.
Varejao led all rebounders with 13 and rookies, Irving and Tristan Thompson, combined for 17 more.
Golden State was paced by David Lee, who was simply too much for the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter – where he notched 13 of his game-high 29 points.
The Cavaliers get a rare two-day respite before welcoming Derrick Rose and the Bulls to town for a Friday night tilt.
Semih Erden came into Tuesday’s affair having hit on two field goals all year (both the previous day against Charlotte). But against Golden State, the Turkish big man was nearly unstoppable – going 6-for-8 from the floor for a career-high 14 points in just 15 minutes of action.
Daniel Gibson got his first start of the season – getting the nod in place of Anthony Parker, who left Monday’s game with a sore lower back. Gibson finished with six points, four boards and three helpers.
For the third straight contest, the Cavaliers faced either a former head or assistant coach. On Friday, it was Mike Brown’s Lakers and Monday, they took on Paul Silas. On Tuesday, it was Mike Malone, who was with the Wine and Gold from 2005 through 2010. This is his first season under new coach Mark Jackson.
The brothers Thompson – Golden State’s Klay and Cleveland’s Mychel – had a brief family reunion before Tuesday night’s contest. Their pregame meeting was the only time they shared floor time, however. Klay came off Golden State’s bench, went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and notched 14 points. His older brother was activated but did not see action.
The Cavaliers are now 0-3 in the second half of a back-to-back this season.
At one point on the prolonged road trip, Samardo Samuels and Luke Harangody had an old-fashioned push-up contest between former Big East heavyweights. The results finally made their way to the media on Tuesday – Harangody won after busting off 73 straight.
Kyrie Irving had his streak of 20-plus points scored snapped at five games, but he extended his streak of shooting over 50 percent from the floor to six games – going 7-for-13 from the floor, adding a career-high eight rebounds.
In terms of rebounding, Anderson Varejao’s tear continued on Tuesday. The Wild Thing grabbed another 13 rebounds – four off the offensive glass – and notched a double-double for the seventh time this season.