NBA: Cavaliers need sharper mental edge, says LeBron James after rout by Warriors

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the second half against the Golden State Warriors.
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the second half against the Golden State Warriors. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - LeBron James says the Cleveland Cavaliers must sharpen their mental approach after a brutal 132-98 drubbing by the Golden State Warriors.

He was left a virtual spectator in his own backyard on Monday night as the Warriors inflicted the biggest home defeat of the four-time National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player's career at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.

Steph Curry scored 35 points as the Warriors made a triumphant return to the scene of last season's NBA Finals triumph, outplaying the Cavaliers from start to finish.

At one stage, the Cavaliers trailed by a whopping 43 points - the largest deficit James has faced at any stage in his 1,127-game professional career.

The 31-year-old power forward said the Warriors had handed the Cavaliers "a good old fashioned a-kicking" - but insisted that Cleveland would not over-react to the defeat.

"I'm not going to put too much into it. Obviously against the top teams you want to play well and we haven't done that," James told reporters.

"We've gotta play better basketball. We've got a long way to go. Tonight was an example of how far we've got to go to get to a championship level.

"It's not miserable. It's not the end of the world. It's just a basketball game. I don't take it that far. For me it's never as bad and it's never as good as it may seem.

"For me as a leader of this club, I've always been even-keeled about wins and losses, especially at this juncture of the season."

James believes the Warriors exposed the relative inexperience of a youthful Cavaliers line-up.

"We've gotta get back to the basics. When you play against teams like this, you've got to have a laser-sharp mentality," he said.

"Some of the things we can get away with against other teams you can't get away with against the top teams.

"It shows us how far we've got to go. We are a young basketball team.

"Mentally we've got to be more sharp. (The Warriors) have got guys who are sharp mentally at all times. We've got inexperienced guys who haven't played enough meaningful basketball games that they can fall back on.

"We're going to have a lot of bumps, and that's okay. We'll learn from it. The best teacher in life is experience."

The Cavs next match comes on Wednesday at the Brooklyn Nets.