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After falling in Brooklyn, the Cavaliers tip off another four-game homestand, and they picked one heck of an opponent to get it going – taking on their former Finals rivals and the league’s top squad, as Steph Curry and the Warriors roll in on Thursday night.
The Wine & Gold look to keep the mojo from an outstanding start to the season going, but they’ve had injuries and illnesses to overcome. Golden State comes to town with a 12-2 mark after having thumped the same Nets that dropped Cleveland last night.
Playing without Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Lamar Stevens, the shorthanded Cavaliers fell behind by 23 points in the first half before climbing back through the third quarter and getting to within seven in the fourth. But Cleveland ran out of ammo late, dropping its second straight – but have a shot at redemption, with the Nets coming to town on Monday.
Ricky Rubio led the Cavaliers with 25 points, adding five assists and four boards while Darius Garland followed up with 24 points – 20 after half – and led the team with six assists and three steals.
With Mobley and Allen out, Ed Davis led both teams with 11 rebounds in the spot start, while Dean Wade, Cedi Osman and Kevin Love all added 11 points, with Love grabbing nine boards in his 23-minute run off the bench.
Golden State comes to Cleveland with the league’s best record, having lost just a single game in the month of November, and they haven’t even gotten Klay Thompson back yet. Steph Curry is back to his old tricks and he’s getting plenty of help from a hungry young roster around him.
On Tuesday night, Curry had the Barclays Center chanting “MVP!” as he dropped 37 points on the Nets – already having scored 37, 40, 45, and 50 points on previous opponents already this season. He’s hit 33 threes over his last five games.
The Warriors wrap up their four-game roadie tomorrow night in Detroit while the Wine and Gold’s homestand rolls on – welcoming Brooklyn to town on Monday followed by the scorching-hot Suns on Wednesday before wrapping up against Orlando on the other end of Thanksgiving.
The Cavaliers are on the negative end of the ledger against Golden State in both the regular season and, as we all know, the NBA Finals. (Although we’ll always have 2016, when Cleveland became the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Championship.)
In the all-time regular season series, the Warriors lead, 64-52, and have won eight straight, including both contests last year. These two have famously faced each other in the Finals four times – Golden State winning three.
For two teams across the country, the Cavaliers and Warriors have some interesting connections.
Steph Curry, born in Akron, is of course the son of Dell Curry – who spent one season (1987-88) with the Cavs, averaging 10.0 points in 79 games. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was with the Cavaliers a little later, from 1989-93, and in his three full seasons, never shot less than 43 percent from long-distance, shooting .472 (133-for-282) in his Cavaliers career.
On the current roster, Andrew Wiggins was once the No. 1 overall pick by the Cavaliers in 2014 out of Kansas before being dealt – along with the previous year’s top pick, Anthony Bennett – to Minnesota for Kevin Love in a three-team blockbuster. In 85 games with Golden State, the native Canadian is averaging 18.5ppg.