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Wrap-Up – Without all their weapons – and with some new ones just added to the arsenal – the Cavaliers ran out of ammo against the league’s top team, falling to the Warriors, 112-94, on Friday night in Oakland.
The Cavaliers broke in one newcomer, Timofey Mozgov – acquired this week in a deal with Denver – who was cleared to play after the squad’s morning shootaround. The Russian big man pitched in immediately, finishing with nine points, eight boards and a blocked shot. Another newcomer, J.R. Smith – who made his Cavalier debut two nights ago in Cleveland – led both teams with 27 points, going 11-for-23 from the floor, including 3-of-8 from long-distance.
Kyrie Irving added 23 points, six boards and a team-high five assists. Kevin Love stayed hot as the Wine and Gold tipped off their five-game West Coast trip, doubling up for the 20th time this season with 17 points and a game-high 14 boards. Tristan Thompson barely missed his 10th double-double of the season, rounding out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points, nine rebounds and a pair of steals.
The high-octane Warriors – sporting a league-best 29-5 mark – were as advertised. They shot an even 50 percent from the floor, 33 percent from beyond the arc, 94 percent from the stripe and had 35 assists on 43 made baskets. Golden State also came into Friday’s contest as the NBA’s best team on the fastbreak, and they flexed their muscles there, too – outscoring Cleveland on the break, 36-3.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers hung tough with Golden State – which has now won 14 straight home games and hasn’t lost to a an Eastern Conference team at Oracle Arena this season – for almost the entire contest. But the Warriors were able to get some breathing space midway through the third quarter.
With 6:39 to play in the third, Kyrie Irving canned an 18-footer to put Cleveland up a deuce, 66-64. But Stephen Curry hit a pair of free throws and followed up with a three-pointer. Two minutes later, Andrew Bogut hit Harrison Barnes for an alley-oop to cap an 11-0 Warriors’ run. The Cavaliers didn’t take the lead back for the rest of the evening.
By the Numbers – 400 … career games for Cavs forward Kevin Love. Since being drafted No. 5 overall in 2008, Love has the second-most double-doubles (275) and second-highest rebounding average over that span, trailing only Dwight Howard in both categories. The three-time All-Star, who needs just two more treys to notch 500 for his career, is one of only three players in NBA history to average at least 10.0 boards and make 400 triples – joining Larry Bird and Charles Barkley.
Quotable – Coach David Blatt, on J.R. Smith’s performance on Friday night in Oakland …
”I told you guys coming in: I had nothing but a great feeling about J.R. joining our team. He’s a super addition and he’s a team guy. And he’s going to help us a great deal.”
Up Next – After tipping off their five-game West Coast trip with a 112-94 loss on Friday night Oakland, the Wine and Gold head to the state capital for a Sunday night matchup with the Kings in Sacramento. On Tuesday night, the Cavs venture outside California for a Tuesday night battle in the Valley of the Sun. Cleveland heads back to Cali for a rare Tinseltown back-to-back to close out the trip – taking on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Thursday night before wrapping up the road trip on Friday night against Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers.