Cavs Make Golden Statement
Wrap-Up – There’s something about the West Coast – or maybe it’s just the Western Conference – that’s been agreeing with the Cavaliers lately. They improved to 6-2 against the West over their last eight matchups, but more importantly, Cleveland got another huge win on its critical three-game junket – topping the Warriors, 103-94, on Friday night in Oakland.
Spencer Hawes continued to impress with the Wine and Gold, doubling up with a team-high 22 points and 13 rebounds. Dion Waiters, the highest-scoring reserve in the Eastern Conference, came off the bench to net 18 points – going 8-for-17 from the floor. Luol Deng did his damage early, notching 10 of his 16 points before intermission, adding six boards and a steal. Kyrie Irving did most of his damage late, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the second half – adding four assists and a game-high four steals. Irving was 3-for-5 from long-distance – including a pair of second-half bombs from way downtown.
Jarrett Jack didn’t post huge numbers in his return to the Bay, but played a rock-solid floor game in Friday’s win. After committing two personal fouls and a turnover in the first three minutes of the game, the veteran point guard bounced back to go 4-for-4 from the floor after intermission – notching nine points, four assists, three boards and a steal.Both teams’ benches came up big on Friday, but Cleveland’s was a little better – combining for 36 points, 12 boards and eight assists. The Wine and Gold turned the tables on Golden State, besting the high-octane Warriors from beyond the arc, 46 percent to 38 percent, and held them to just 41 points in the second stanza.
Turning Point – Friday’s turning point occurred early in the second quarter, but it changed the complexion of the entire affair. Golden State jumped all over the Cavs at the outset – running out to a 20-4 lead and carrying that 16-point edge to the end of the quarter. But Cleveland’s second unit – led by Waiters, Tyler Zeller and Matthew Dellavedova turned things around in short order, going on a 25-6 run to start the period. When Waiters canned his second trey of the quarter with 5:22 remaining, the Cavaliers had gone from 16 down to two up – taking the raucous Oracle Arena crowd effectively out of the contest.
Game Ball – Spencer Hawes – As in his previous 10 games with the Wine and Gold, Hawes was efficient, tough and productive. He notched his fifth double-double with the Cavaliers, including his third 20-10 performance – going 8-of-18 from the floor, leading both squads with 13 boards while holding Andrew Bogut to just four points on four field goal attempts.
By the Numbers – .431, 97.7 … shooting percentage and points per game the Cavaliers are allowing since February 8 – second-lowest and seventh-lowest in the league respectively during that stretch.
Quotable – Luol Deng, on Friday’s win and the team’s need to retain its focus …
”I think the biggest thing for us right now, being a young team, is we just want to win games. There’s really no time to just feel good about yourself. You just have to understand the situation you’re in. We won two games and are still behind in the playoffs and that is the goal. It’s a great win but we have another opponent next and we can’t be too excited right now. We’re going to have a tough schedule coming up.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers close out the three-game West Coast trip – and the Western Conference portion of their road schedule – on Sunday evening in Los Angeles when they take on the red-hot Clippers. They have another trio of tough matchups waiting for them at The Q when they return – taking on the World Champs on Tuesday night, and Oklahoma City team looking for revenge on Thursday and the surging Rockets on Saturday.