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Steph Curry and Klay Thompson weren’t on the floor for Golden State, but it felt like it in the third quarter – when the Warriors canned 10 three-pointers, scored 44 points and blew open a 131-112 decision on Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
In the process, the Warriors snapped their 10-game road losing streak and extended the Wine and Gold’s home skein to 10 games – with their last win in Cleveland coming back on December 23 against the Hawks.
Saturday’s matchup was competitive throughout the first half, and the Cavaliers led by seven, 59-52, with 1:25 to play before intermission. But things went south quickly from there.
Golden State would close the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take a two-point lead into half. The third quarter was all Warriors – shooting a gaudy 68 percent, including a 10-of-14 mark from beyond the arc. In the period, Draymond Green handed out eight of his game-high 16 assists and D’Angelo Russell canned three of his six triples.
Collin Sexton was snubbed once again for the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, and he played with a chip on his shoulder from the opening tip – leading Cleveland with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, going 3-of-5 from deep to go with four assists and a team-high three steals.
Kevin Porter Jr. continued his solid play off the bench, following up with 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-9 from long-range and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding three boards and a pair of assists.
Kevin Love – playing in his 700th career regular season contest – doubled-up with 14 points, 11 boards and a team-high five assists. Tristan Thompson also grabbed 11 rebounds, four of those off the offensive glass.
Darius Garland finished with 15 points and four assists, but he struggled from the floor on 5-for-15 shooting and was guilty of five of Cleveland’s 16 miscues on the night.
Larry Nance Jr., playing in the 300th regular season game of his career, tied a career-best – extending his double-digit scoring streak to seven games, finishing with 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting, adding five boards and a pair of helpers.
Cedi Osman rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures, tallying 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, adding three assists and a pair of steals.
Seven Warriors scored in double-figures – led by Glenn Robinson III, who John Beilein coached at Michigan and finished with 22 points. Golden State’s bench combined for 54 points – paced by former Cavalier Alec Burks and former North Royalton High standout Omari Spellman.
Darius Garland hits Tristan Thompson inside with a nice pass as Thompson finishes the play off with a dunk.
Closing quarters is crucial to winning- and losing- in the NBA. Saturday’s game turned in less than two minutes just before intermission.
The Cavaliers took a seven-point edge on Collin Sexton’s free throws with 2:35 to play. But the Cavs didn’t score again while the Warriors capitalized on a pair of Darius Garland turnovers, with Glenn Robinson III and Damion Lee combining for nine quick points before the break.
In the third quarter, Cleveland completely came apart. The Warriors would go on to score the first eight points of the second half and closed the period on a 12-2 run – extending their lead to 27 points and coasting to the finish line from there.
2,754 … defensive rebounds that Kevin Love has grabbed as a Cavalier, passing Jim Chones for 7th on the franchise’s all-time list.
Next on the list for Love is Anderson Varejao (2,955); Tristan Thompson sits No. 4 on the all-time list at 3,227.
Coach John Beilein, on his squad’s third quarter woes …
”The third quarter, I don’t know if I was asked before or was it last game, but it’s just killing us right now. We’re coming out of the locker room, it’s not like there are big time adjustments made either way, I’ve never been a big-time adjustment guy in the locker rooms over the years. It seems if we get hit in the face right away and it escalates immediately.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
The Wine & Gold have just four more games remaining before the All-Star Break, beginning with Monday night’s matchup against the Knicks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse – the final meeting between these two this year.
Cleveland gets on the road for one, traveling to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, then returns home for the final two before the break – welcoming Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers next Sunday followed by a visit from Trae Young and the Hawks on Wednesday.