Pumped up Warriors thrash limp Cavs

Draymond Green (left) harassed LeBron James (centre) all game, as the Warriors held the Cavs to 35.2 per cent from the field.
Draymond Green (left) harassed LeBron James (centre) all game, as the Warriors held the Cavs to 35.2 per cent from the field.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

One-sided Finals rematch saw Golden State break 4-game losing streak against Cleveland

OAKLAND (California) • Draymond Green recorded a knockdown on LeBron James. But neither team were claiming a knockout on Monday when the Golden State Warriors emphatically snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cleveland Cavaliers, crushing the National Basketball Association (NBA) champions 126-91.

Klay Thompson scored a game-high 26 points and Green had an 11-point, 13-rebound, 11-assist triple-double, propelling the Warriors to their first win over the Cavaliers since Game Four of last year's NBA Finals.

"Regardless of if LeBron thinks it's a rivalry, I know he wants to beat us," said Green. "And we want to beat them."

The Cavaliers, rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals rematch to win their first NBA championship last June. Cleveland then extended their winning streak to four with a 109-108 home win over Golden State on Christmas Day.

But, after Monday's game, the pendulum could be swinging back in the Warriors' direction.

"To me, it (was an important game) because they beat us four straight times," Thompson said. "It felt good to redeem ourselves for that last effort in Cleveland."

  • 32
    Cleveland were outscored by 32 points with LeBron James on the floor.

  • 35
    The Cavaliers lost by 35 points. James has never been beaten by a bigger margin in the regular season.

Golden State (35-6) took control immediately on Monday at Oracle Arena. A lay-up from Stephen Curry, a three-pointer from Thompson and a dunk from Kevin Durant resulted in a 7-0 lead, prompting a Cavs time-out after just 93 seconds.

The Warriors led 37-22 after one quarter, then turned the game into a blowout with 3min 31sec left in the second quarter, using an 18-3 flurry to open a 78-49 half-time advantage.

The second quarter included a flagrant-foul call against Green for knocking James to the floor on a fast break .

"His shoulder hit me in the face," James said, referring to his dramatic fall. "I'm all right. I'm a football player."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr did not think it was a big deal.

"Was that an incident?" he asked. "It looked like just a normal foul."

James finished with a team-high 20 points for the weary Cavaliers, who were completing an 11-day, six-game trip.

He missed 12 of his 18 shots from the floor and three of his four three-point attempts.

Kevin Love had only three points and three rebounds in 16 minutes before sitting out most of the second half with a sore back. Kyrie Irving, who hit game winners against the Warriors in the last two meetings, had 17 points despite shooting six-for-19 from the field.

"They put it on us real good," he said.

"They were clicking on all facets of the game. This is a dangerous team. They've got so many different options."

The Warriors shot 50.5 per cent from the field and 44.1 per cent on three-pointers. They also grabbed more rebounds (58-35) and dished out more assists (37-11).

Cleveland, who suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season, shot just 35.2 per cent from the field and 26.5 per cent from three-point range.

"They played like a team with it's back against the wall," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "They punished us."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Pumped up Warriors thrash limp Cavs'. Print Edition | Subscribe