Up-and-down Cavs look for consistency vs. Warriors
Posted on: 11 Nov, 2023 at 12:53 AM
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Cavaliers' early run of rematches takes a different spin Saturday night in San Francisco when they seek a second consecutive victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Big men Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen combined for 25 points and 25 rebounds, while guards Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland teamed for 55 points as the Cavaliers beat the Warriors 115-104 in Cleveland last Sunday.
Saturday's rematch already is the Cavaliers' fourth of a season that is only nine games old. The difference this time is Cleveland beat the opponent in the first meeting.
En route to its 3-5 start, the Cavaliers have been swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers while earning a split with the New York Knicks after dropping the first head-to-head.
Meanwhile, the Warriors will be involved in a rematch for the second time this season. They swept the rival Sacramento Kings, needing a last-second jumper from Klay Thompson to pull out a 102-101 home win in the rematch.
Both teams enter the matchup coming off losses.
The Cavaliers followed up their win over Golden State with a 128-120 road loss to the Thunder on Wednesday in a game in which the hosts' Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 43 points.
Now they will have to deal with Stephen Curry, who bombed in seven 3-pointers on a 28-point night in the loss at Cleveland.
For a team seeking its first winning streak of the season, allowing the Thunder to run up 70 first-half points Wednesday was unacceptable, coach J.B. Bickerstaff noted afterward.
"We had an opportunity coming off a big win to kind of springboard ourselves in the right direction. Our approach to start the game wasn't good enough," he insisted. "Where we were mentally and where our focus was, it wasn't good enough. Coming out and not executing the game plan is disappointing."
The loss at Cleveland snapped a five-game Warriors winning streak. They have since split decisions, winning 120-109 at Detroit on Monday before falling 108-105 at Denver on Wednesday.
Draymond Green, who had 18 points, eight assists and three steals in the Cleveland game, missed the Denver matchup for personal reasons. He is expected back for the start of a six-game homestand against the Cavaliers.
Green's return would mean returning Dario Saric to the bench and strengthening a unit that, in terms of point differential, has outplayed the Golden State starters this season. Curry credits newcomer Chris Paul, the leader of the second group, for the unit's difference-making play.
"Our bench unit is way better than our starting unit right now, in terms of plus-minus, and Chris is a big reason why," Curry insisted. "The lead is maintaining or building, or even they've come back a couple times and got us back in it."
Despite a 6-3 record, Warriors starters have been outscored by an average of half a point per game so far. On the other hand, the reserves lead the NBA with a plus-5.3 margin per game.
--Field Level Media