Shorthanded Warriors Slide Past Cavaliers
Golden State 99, Cleveland 79
OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers needed LeBron James to step up and end their long slide. Instead, the free fall continued as the superstar had one of his worst games of the season.
James scored 14 points on 5-of-22 shooting - both season lows - as the Cavaliers dropped their sixth straight game, a 99-79 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
"That was not pretty," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "We've been pretty competitive on this road trip. With what we're going through now, it's gut-check time. We're facing some adversity, it's been tough to lose six games in a row but we're going to see what we're made of."
Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s constant defensive pressure on James helped Golden State allow its lowest total of the season.
"We did a nice job on (James) tonight," Dunleavy said. "When you guard him, you just try to make him work hard. You throw different looks at him. It was a total team effort tonight. If you can hold him down, you have a good chance at winning against them."
"We did a great job," Warriors guard Jason Richardson said. "Guys really worked hard and played hard. Mike Dunleavy did a great job on (James), making him take tough shots and he came on the other end and played good offense."
James claimed his poor shooting was a result of a knee-to-knee collision in the first half.
"It had something to do with it," James said of his right knee. "I couldn't get as much lift, enough spring when I wanted to drive and penetrate and my shot got blocked a couple of times."
"I didn't see what was going on, but we don't worry about that," Dunleavy said. "That's their problem to deal with. We've got to go out and play with the guy whether he's 50 percent or 100 percent."
The game was tied, 26-26, before the Warriors opened the second period with a 12-2 burst. Dunleavy scored five of his 22 points during the surge, which was capped by Richardson's 3-pointer with 8:26 left. Celebrating his 25th birthday, Richardson scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half as Golden State took a 54-43 lead into the break.
"We've had some tough losses and I thought tonight Golden State came out, they were hot," Brown said. "They played extremely hard and executed well on both ends of the floor and they got it done."
The Warriors opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run and never were threatened thereafter despite playing without point guard Baron Davis, who was serving a one-game suspension for hitting Seattle's Luke Ridnour in the chest in Monday's win in Seattle.
"It's just great to go out there and play, especially when we don't have Baron with us right now," Richardson said. "We knew we had to pick it up individually. Everybody had to pick up a level, whether it was talking, passing the ball, whatever it was. We knew we had to pick up the slack because Baron has big shoes to fill. Guys stepped up their game."
Derek Fisher filled in admirably for Davis by collecting 17 points, a season-high nine assists and a career-best six steals.
"I allowed my teammates to do what they do," Fisher said. "The key to our success tonight was balance and the fact that everyone was able to get comfortable on offense."
Cleveland's Drew Gooden collected 16 points and 10 rebounds after being sidelined by a thigh injury Wednesday at Denver. However, he did not play after the opening stages of the third quarter.
"I talked to the coach and we've got a back-to-back with a game (Saturday)," Gooden said. "I'm kind of nursing this injury and got out ... before it got worse. We've got a goose egg so far on this road trip and if people are really competitors on this team, they'll step up to the challenge."