Pistons, Knicks in rout of top dogs

Knicks forward Lance Thomas fouling Cavaliers forward LeBron James at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. New York won the game 114-95.
Knicks forward Lance Thomas fouling Cavaliers forward LeBron James at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. New York won the game 114-95.PHOTO: REUTERS

Cavs done in by another poor start, Warriors pay the price after squandering 14-point lead

LOS ANGELES • The National Basketball Association (NBA) champions Golden State Warriors and beaten finalists Cleveland Cavaliers tumbled on Sunday, as early season struggles continued for the league's powerhouse teams.

Tim Hardaway Jr and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 66 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 114-95 victory in Cleveland.

In Oakland, California, the Warriors coughed up a season-high 25 turnovers in a 107-115 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

The Knicks notched their first win over the Cavs since Oct 30, 2014, ending a 10-game losing streak against last season's losing finalists, who were tipped before the season to be headed to the Finals for a fourth straight time.

Hardaway scored 34 points and Porzingis added 32 with 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who handed LeBron James and the Cavaliers (3-4) a fourth defeat in eight days.

"Tonight's loss and the last couple are unacceptable, and the only way we're going to be able to get out of it is to put the work in - as players, as coaches," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "And we're going to do that."

A day after falling 101-123 to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Cavaliers looked lethargic as they trailed by 18 points in the third quarter.

SIMPLY BELOW PAR

We are throwing the ball all over the place. It's focus and execution. Teams are coming after us every single night, and we know that.''

STEVE KERR, the Warriors' frustrated coach, on his NBA champions falling short once more.

They trimmed the deficit to 88-94 on a James lay-up with 8min 20sec left before the Knicks (2-3) regained control.

Kevin Love again led Cleveland with 22 points and 11 rebounds. James added 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and said it was too early in the season to worry.

"What is this? October? I'm not about to go crazy over it right now," he said.

While the Cavs have struggled with slow starts, the Warriors (4-3) have been finding it hard to hold on to leads.

They squandered a 14-point third-quarter advantage over Detroit, who shot just 46.2 per cent from the field but benefited from their opponents' sloppy play.

The hosts connected on a blistering 61.4 per cent of their shots over the first three periods, but trailed 88-101 at 6:25 of the fourth quarter.

They were down 105-108 with 1:55 to play when they got a steal from Stephen Curry. But he missed the contested lay-up and then a three-point attempt despite contributing 27 points and eight assists. Klay Thompson added 29 and Kevin Durant 28.

Tobias Harris added a three-pointer for Detroit (5-2), before Curry lost the ball to Avery Bradley, who led his team with 23 points and whose lay-up sealed a third consecutive win and the second in as many nights on their West Coast trip.

"At some point, the ball just has to matter," said exasperated Golden State coach Steve Kerr. "We are throwing the ball all over the place. It's focus and execution.

"Teams are coming after us every single night, and we know that.

"We are getting everybody's best shot, and if you don't match that type of energy and play with some intelligence and some discipline, you are not going to win."

Perennial Western Conference contenders San Antonio also fell, 94-97 on the road at Indiana (3-3), as they lost their second straight game after a perfect four-game start to start the season.

Victor Oladipo drained the winning three-pointer for the hosts, who led for much of the game before the Spurs rallied to take a nine-point lead in the fourth.

Oladipo, who finished with 23 points, admitted that his shot from 30 feet away, which put his team 95-94 up, was "maybe too deep".

"Honestly, I didn't really want to shoot it that far, but the move felt good and I just held my follow-through and it went in," he said.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points to lead the Spurs.

But he failed with a jump shot with 5.1 seconds left and Patty Mills missed a potential game-tying three-pointer just before the buzzer, as San Antonio's rally effort fell short.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'Pistons, Knicks in rout of top dogs'. Print Edition | Subscribe