Gameday: Warriors at Cavaliers - 12/29/13
The Warriors extended their win streak to five games after defeating the Cavaliers 108-104 in overtime in Cleveland Sunday afternoon. Stephen Curry led the team with 29 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. David Lee added 19 points while Klay Thompson finished with 16. Draymond Green had a big game, setting career-highs in rebounds (12) and blocks (4) in 25 minutes of action. Next up for the Dubs on their East Coast road trip is a New Year’s Eve contest with the Orlando Magic.
On tonight's game:
“Spectacular effort in the second half after they (Cavs) had their way offensively. They made shots but we didn’t do anything to stop them. Second half, they shoot 30% from the field. We did a great job of sharing the basketball and taking care of the basketball and rebounding the basketball. Draymond gave us great minutes. We battled. Once again, it showed the character and toughness of this basketball team, so I’m proud of this win.”
On starting the road trip with a win:
“They had everything going. Defensively, we were not as sharp in the first half but we regrouped and came out with a quality win. That’s a team that has a homerun hitter with Kyrie Irving. He got it going. But, just a big win for us and showed a lot of resolve and what we are made of.”
On key moments and big shots by Curry:
“It was certainly a big shot – that’s who Steph is. He’s one of the best in the world. He took it upon himself to make plays and establish a rhythm. I love the way he competed defensively also, but certainly made plays for himself and for everybody else on the floor. He’s a guy that we believe in. We’re not going to tell him to stop shooting. He’s a guy that is having an all-time great year for himself and has put himself in the class of elite players and it’s great to see.”
On shots made tonight:
“I spent a lot of time in the offseason working on my shot. That was one thing I wanted to improve. One thing I’ve learned is that you have to stay confident in yourself. I know I’ve put the time in to be a better shooter and I have confidence that it’s going to work out regardless of the fact that I was, I think, 0 for 6 at that point. Staying confident was what I knew was key. The ball found me in that situation and I knew I had to step up and knock the shot down.”
On the importance of starting the trip with a win:
“Getting down by 19 isn’t ideal. But, knowing we have the necessary tools to fight back, that’s the most important thing. We knew we had to start this road trip off with a win if we want it to be a successful road trip. With some tough games coming up, we always say that there are games that you are supposed to win and we felt this was a game that we’re supposed to win. It was key that we came in here and got the win. It wasn’t quite in the fashion we wanted to do it, but one thing that we talk about is showing some result. When things aren’t going our way, we have to continue to fight.”
On being down big and then coming back:
“It was frustrating because we always talk about when we get up seven or eight, trying to put the other team away, especially a team that’s been struggling a little bit like Cleveland. You don’t want to give teams that have offensive talent like this a chance to get into rhythm and that’s what we let them do in the late first, early second. When they do that, a guy like Kyrie (Irving) can carry them to a victory. You can play great defense and it doesn’t matter. We were lucky we got back in the game early in that third and the rest we were able to take care of.”
Sunday’s game begins a stretch of seven-straight road games for the Warriors, their longest road trip of the season. After Friday’s blowout win over the Suns, the Warriors have won four-straight, and will look to keep that streak going against the Cavaliers. This will be the first of two matchups between the two teams this season. Golden State has won the last five meetings, and all by at least 10 points, their longest double-digit win streak against any single opponent in franchise history.
LAST TIME OUT
Friday night's contest was the last game on Warriors Ground in 2013, and the Warriors closed it out on a high-note, defeating the Suns 115-86. Stephen Curry was phenomenal, notching his second triple-double of the season with 14 points and career-highs of 16 assists and 13 rebounds. Curry becomes just the second player in the NBA this season to record multiple triple-doubles, and the first Warriors player to do so in a single season since Baron Davis in 2007-08. Klay Thompson added 21 points and four rebounds, while David Lee had a solid all-around game with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The win is the Dubs’ fourth in a row and pushes their record to 18-13. GAME RECAP
HOW FAR THEY'VE COME
Almost exactly a year ago, the Warriors went on a similar seven-game road trip that ushered in the new era of Golden State basketball. After struggling on the road for several years, the Warriors left the East Coast with a 6-1 record on that trip, including a last-second victory over the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat. The Dubs will get another shot against the Heat later in this trip, but right now their focus lies with the Cavaliers, who stand in the way of the Warriors’ longest win streak so far this season. It’s obvious the Warriors have come a long way in the last year, and what better way to start off 2014 by taking another step forward.
What more is there to say about him? By now we shouldn’t be surprised by anything Stephen Curry does, but after notching a triple-double in just the first 23 minutes of Friday’s victory, we continue to be forced to re-evaluate our expectations of him. He’s tied for the NBA-lead in 30-point/10-assist games, and ranks second in the league in assists and three-pointers, and eighth in scoring. If that’s not an All-Star resume, it’s difficult to know what is. He’s currently third in All-Star voting among Western Conference guards, but it would be a shame if his spectacular beginning to the season didn’t result in him getting the chance to start the game. DUB THE VOTE
CLEVELAND SCOUTING REPORT
It’s been somewhat of a disappointing start to the season for the Cavs. After being picked by many to make the playoffs in the East, Cleveland has stumbled out of the gate to a 10-19 record. First overall draft pick Anthony Bennett has not produced at the level they had hoped when he was selected, and dynamic point guard Kyrie Irving has often been asked to carry too much of the load. However, don’t sleep on the Cavs, who despite their poor record, have plenty of talent on their squad. Led by the likes of Irving, Tristan Thompson, and ex-Warrior Jarrett Jack, Cleveland is more than capable of stealing a victory, particularly on their home court where they possess a respectable 8-6 record. There are no easy wins on the road in the NBA, and that’s certainly the case here. The Warriors will need to come out strong and force the issue if they hope to start off their season-long road trip on a high note.
GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery), Ognjen Kuzmic (fifth metacarpal fracture, right hand) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.