Warriors Earn Rare Cleveland Win
Golden State 99, Cleveland 91
CLEVELAND, Feb. 11 (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson led the Golden State Warriors to a rare road win and LeBron James did little about it when it mattered most.
Richardson scored 31 points and James all but disappeared in the fourth quarter as the Warriors posted a 99-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It was a helluva win, especially when you are playing two starters short," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said.
Guard Baron Davis sprained his right ankle in the first quarter and did not return. Forward Troy Murphy has been sidelined with a left ankle sprain.
"We did make some clutch shots," Montgomery said. "Everybody was free and easy and the ball was moving. Every time they made a bucket, we seemed to answer and that was critical for us."
Derek Fisher filled in nicely for Davis, scoring 18 points off the bench, including five straight to put the Warriors ahead 67-65 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. They never trailed again.
"This is a big character win for us," Fisher said. "There's no other way to put it, coming off two tough losses to start the trip."
Cleveland tied the game, 84-84, with 6:07 to play on a 3-pointer by Damon Jones but Golden State answered with a 12-5 run to take control.
James' only basket of the fourth quarter made it 88-86 with 4:46 remaining but Richardson answered with a hoop and hit a 3-pointer in James' face to make it 94-89 with 2:22 to play.
"(Golden State) did a great job of doubling me when I came off of pick-and-rolls," James said. "I don't think we were mentally prepared to come out and play this game."
"(James) is averaging 30 points, so you want to go out there and match him and try to play the best defense you can," Richardson said.
Mickael Pietrus capped the spurt with a deep jumper from the left wing to give the Warriors a 96-89 lead with 1:46 remaining.
James kept the Cavaliers in the game early, scoring 16 points in the first quarter while the rest of the team was 1-of-13 from the field. He had 31 after three but again failed to produce down the stretch, shooting 1-of-3 from the floor in the fourth quarter with three assists.
"Offensively, we didn't execute at all," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Especially late in the ball game, I was disappointed in our execution."
In Cleveland's 101-89 loss at Washington on Friday, James was 6-of-23 from the field and finished with 18 points but only two came in the fourth quarter.
Mike Dunleavy scored 14 points, Andris Biedrins 11 and Pietrus 10 for Golden State, which blew out Cleveland in Oakland last month, 99-79.
"When (Davis) goes out, that's a pretty big change for us," Dunleavy said. "But everybody stepped up and did a nice job."
X-rays of Davis' ankle were negative and he is day-to-day.
"Going forward the rest of the season, we have a lot to prove to ourselves," Fisher said. "When the season started, I said, 'We're going to make the playoffs and we were capable of making the playoffs.' So we have to hold ourselves to that."