Road-weary Cavaliers fall to Warriors

Brian Windhorst from the ABJ writes “The Cleveland Cavaliers found a way to keep from failing again in the clutch. Avoid it all together.
The one thing that allowed them to retain some dignity during their mounting string of losses was they gave effort and had a legitimate chance to win every game. Now that’s out the window, too.
The Golden State Warriors whipped the malaised Cavs, 99-79, on Friday night to extend their losing streak to six games, the last five on this West Coast trip. The descent continues, as they’ve dropped seven of the nine games they’ve played without Larry Hughes.
With the Warriors going without the suspended Baron Davis and the Cavs coming off a series of bitter, close losses, one would assume they would’ve smelled blood.
Instead, it was mud.
The Warriors (19-19) bettered the Cavs (20-17) in every phase of the game, leading by as many as 22 points in a rout.
Gone was the defensive intensity shown in Denver; lost was the offensive spirit and creativeness. And execution wasn’t a part of the game plan.
The fourth-largest crowd in Warriors history, 20,205, showed up at the Arena in Oakland with LeBron James making his only visit to town, and they promptly saw him play his worst game of the season.
James kept releasing the ball and having it not hit anything or anybody, be it jumpers, layups or passes. He went an uncharacteristic 5-of-22 shooting and scored a season-low 14 points. He also turned the ball over six times, several of them bizarrely unforced.
With the current state of the Cavs, they simply cannot afford for James to have such an off night and stand much of a shot.
The Cavs turned the ball over like they were chasing a record, 17 times in the first three quarters and 20 overall. They also allowed the Warriors to get out and run. They raced to 18 fast-break points.
Every year, every team lays a few eggs on the road, especially in the midst of a long trip. But using that excuse while on such a losing streak rings quite hollow.
Drew Gooden, coming back after missing two games with a pulled thigh muscle, was the only Cav who seemed to play with any fire, and that was perhaps because he was playing in his hometown. He had 16 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but he was far from a difference-maker.
The rest of the Cavs combined to shoot 38 percent, making just 2-of-17 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, the Warriors had an enjoyable Friday night, moving and pushing the ball on offense, challenging every James drive on defense while letting the Cavs’ long-slumping shooters to bang away.
Jason Richardson scored 22 points on his birthday. Mike Dunleavy looked like the best small forward in the building, putting up 22 points.
The Warriors, who had lost five out of six games coming in, also made 8-of-14 3-pointers.”
Source: Akron Beacon Journal – Brian Windhorst

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