The Golden State Warriors continue their impressive run, especially at home, with a 112-94 win over the ever changing Cleveland Cavaliers, still playing without LeBron James.
The Warriors improve to 16-1 at home, and are only the third team in NBA history to win all the games in a six-game homestand and averaging the wins by more than 20 points. The last team to achieve that were the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls – that team finished with 72 wins and won the NBA championship. Steve Kerr was part of that team. Mark Jackson recently made comments about not getting any credit for the Warriors’ success this season, but there’s no doubt this is a very different team under Kerr.
Klay Thompson led the way with 24 points, Stephen Curry scored 23 points and overall six players scored in double figures. J.R. Smith led the Cavaliers with 27 points, Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and Kevin Love finished with 17. The difference was the defense, which right now is still in very poor form. Timofey Mozgov with 9 points and 8 rebounds didn’t make a huge difference off the bench, and Iman Shumpert, brought to upgrade the defense, is currently suffering from a dislocated shoulder.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are heading into the final 45 games of the season with an almost brand new team. J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov aren’t just minor additions to the edges of a functioning operation. They’re the ones counted on to make a change, and support the big three, currently playing without LeBron James. This loss to the Warriors by 18 points doesn’t help them in their fall down the Eastern rankings, but in the long run, it just might be a road bump they wno’t take too seriously.
But the Warriors have different “problems”. They’re worried about keeping the Portland Trail Blazers behind them. The Warriors have only lost five games this season and are doing very well even without their starting center, who at the moment is coming off the bench, slowly getting back into rhythm after a long absence. But in Bogut’s 20 minutes, the Warriors were winning by 15 points, better +/- than anyone else in this game, suggesting they can be even better when he comes back.