Cavaliers completely embarrassed by severely shorthanded Warriors 120-114   
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - After a tough loss on Wednesday night in Memphis when the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Grizzlies 115-114 on a put back by Steven Adams with :16 remaining in the game the Cavs returned home Friday night to take on the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are coming off an overtime loss in Boston on Thursday night and their top four players Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins. The young Cavs obviously took this as a positive and took the Warriors lightly and paid dearly as they were embarrassed from the tip to start the game to the final buzzer 120-114.

The Cavaliers got out to a quick 8-3 advantage courtesy of a pull up jumper by Darius Garland. The Warriors responded with a 10-0 run taking a 13-8 lead before Garland ended it with a jumper cutting the lead to 13-10 with 8:10 left in the first period. After the Warriors added to their lead at 15-10 the Cavs responded with a 6-0 run to take a 16-15 lead on hook shot by Jarrett Allen with 6:31 left in the first quarter. With the game tied at 18-18 and 4:35 left on the clock Garland secured the steal and on a fast break Cedi Osman laid the ball in the basket giving the Cavs a 20-18 lead forcing Warriors coach Steve Kerr to take a timeout. The game continued to be a back forth affair. After the Cavs took a 22-18 lead on another layup by Osman the Warriors scored the next nine points building their lead to 27-25 with 2:29 left on a driving fast break layup by Jordan Poole. As the time wound down in the first the Cavs were in a hole as the Warriors scored the last six points to take a 33-25 lead until there was no time left on the clock and Caris LeVert hit a three-point backet to cut the Golden State lead to five at 33-28 at the end of the first 12 minutes. Poole led all scorers with 11 points in the first period, while Garland led the Cavs with eight. Rebounds were even at seven apiece. Turnovers were really not an issue, the Cavs did turn the ball over twice resulting in four Warriors points.

Early in the second the Warriors did not seem to be missing their four stars as the team known for their three point prowess was shooting 75% (9 of 12) from long distance with 8:46 left in the first half and were on top 45-36. The Cavs did cut the lead to 46-40 with 7:18 left when Lamar Stevens turned a turnover into a dunk. Cleveland further cut into the lead in with 6:24 left in the half when Garland drained a three, but the Warriors came right back with a two consecutive three’s by JaMychal Green and Donte DiVincenzo to give Golden State a 52-43 lead with 5:16 left on the clock in the second quarter. Cleveland woke up late in the second quarter and went on a 8-2 run to cut the lead to 54-51 when Osman hit a three pointer with 3:41 left on the clock. The Warriors came right back with six straight points to take a 60-51 lead on a three by Anthony Lamb with 2:40 left on the clock. One thing seemed apparent in the final minute of the first half was that the young Warriors wanted it more than the Cavs hustling and wrestling 50/50 balls away from Cleveland. The result was the very shorthanded Warriors taking a 64-59 lead into the locker room at halftime. Garland led all scorers with 18 points in the first half. Evan Mobley and LeVert also had nine points apiece. Poole led the Warriors with 16 points. The craziest stats of the first half was that the Warriors despite most of their regular bench players starting tonight outscored the Cavs bench 27-17 in the first half. The Cavs did turn the ball over five times resulting in seven Golden State points. While the Warriors turned it over four times and the Cavs converted those into seven points. The biggest gap was in rebounds as the Warriors outworked the Cavs 23-16 in the first 24 minutes.

It was more of the same as the second half began when the Warriors took a 72-61 lead just 1:29 into the third quarter after Poole hit his fifth three of the game in six attempts. The Cavs seemed to have no answer to stop him as he has 19 points in the game at that point. The trend continued as Golden State continued to be on fire from long range extending their lead to 83-68 with 8:19 left when Ty Jerome hit a three. With 7:16 left in the period the Cavs were on the verge of being humiliated by the Warriors who once again were missing their four best players when DiVincenzo converted a steal by Jerome into a fast break dunk giving the Warriors an 87-68 lead. In the first 24 minutes of the game the Cavs turned the ball over five times, in the first 6:14 of the second half they turned it over four times resulting in five Warrior points. With 4:18 left in the third the Cavs hit rock bottom as Poole drained three free throws after being fouled by Raul Neto giving the Warriors a 94-74 lead. After a technical on Neto and one on Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff Cleveland seemed to wake up and over the next 2:51 the Cavs cut the Warriors lead to 95-85 after Kevin Love drained three from in front of the Warriors bench. The Warriors took a timeout to squelch the Cavs momentum. Kerr may have accomplished his goal as the clock hit double zero at the end of the third the Warriors led 98-86. Poole led everyone in scoring with 26. Garland led the Cavs with 24. The Warriors dominated the Cavs on the boards 13-3 in the quarter and now led in the game 39-19 on the glass. Through three quarters the Warriors were shooting 60% from behind the three point line 20 of 33.

The hot shooting from behind the three point line continued for Golden State early in the fourth as they began the quarter two for two in the first 3:01 of the final quarter when Lamb hit his fourth of the game to give the Warriors a 108-93 lead. Defensively the Cavs found no answer all night to stop the Warriors. Every time the Cavs looked like they could make a significant dent in the Golden State lead the Warriors responded on offense. The Cavs cut the lead to 112-102 with 5:18 left on the clock on a LeVert put back, but just :16 later the Warriors responded knocking the lead back up to 12 at 114-102. With 3:56 left the Cavs cut the Warriors lead to 114-106 on an Allen put back. It was the first time the Cavs cut the lead to less than double digits since the 10:21 mark of the third period. Cleveland further cut into the Warriors lead shaving it to 114-109 when LeVert hit a three. The Golden State lead shrank even further when Lamar Stevens was fouled and hit one of the two pulling the Cavs to within four at 114-110 with 2:00 left. The Warriors daggers kept coming as Jerome hit a three giving Golden State a 1117-110 lead with just 1:39 left in the contest. With :56.8 left on the clock Garland was sent to foul line after being fouled by DiVincenzo he both shots to cut the Warriors lead to 117-112. On the Warriors next possession with :42.6 left on the game clock and nine seconds left on the shot clock Kerr took a timeout. After the timeout the Cavs defense completely collapsed and the Warriors Kevon Looney easily dunked with no Cavs within ten feet to give Golden State a 119-114 lead. The final :32.4 became a game of fouls as the Cavs fouled DiVincenzo who hit one of two extending the Warriors advantage to 120-114.

Poole led all scorers in the game with 32. The Warriors had six players including Poole in double figures. Garland led the Cavs with 31. The Cavs, who were only missing Donovan Mitchell, had five players in double figures. Along with Garland LeVert had 22, Mobley 17, Osman 13 and Love contributed 12 in the loss. The Warriors bench absolutely embarrassed the Cavs bench outscoring them 35-32, seems like a small margin but considering the players that the Warriors were without it was a terrible result.

After the game Bickerstaff said, “We got what we deserved.” It was very clear that Bickerstaff was not happy with is team’s effort his post-game press conference lasted about 30 seconds.

The Cavs will be in action next tomorrow night at RMFH against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 pm. Prior to the game former Cavaliers great Anderson Varejao will be honored. Varejao played 15 seasons in the NBA, 13 with the Cavaliers. The big man played his final game of his NBA career as a Cavalier on May 14, 2021. His current role with the Cavs is player development consultant and global ambassador. 
Follow us on Twitter @SportsSentinel Check out our Cavaliers fan page Taitville 
​POSTED 01/20/2023 22:14
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Cavaliers guard Darius Garland.                                       Photo by Tommy Shirer