Warriors crumble under Cavaliers comeback

ORACLE ARENA — In the opening minutes Friday night, everything seemed to be clicking for Golden State.  But they quickly threw it all away.

Golden State came out of the gate with guns blazing, pulling out to a 20-4 lead and finishing the opening quarter 32-16.

Andre Iguodala was on fire, Stephen Curry was hitting threes and the the defense was on point across the board.

But the Warriors went to shambles as the game wore on, opening the door for the Cavaliers to roll out of Oracle with a 103-94 win.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson said there wasn’t just one thing he could pinpoint that was to blame for the loss, but said the way they lost was what stung the most:

“Everything went bad … You can lose this game because they are a talented enough basketball team. But you can’t lose it that way.”

After extending their first-half lead to 18 points, the Warriors looked like they would take an easy victory. But the Cavaliers bench found a rhythm going on a 23-2 run of their own.

Bogut blocked a shot on the defensive end, but like a scrappy English chap, Dion Waiters pick-pocketed the ball and laid it in with ease. On the next possession, Waiters hit a pull-up three to take the lead 40-38.

The Warriors reclaimed a 53-52 lead heading into the second half but it wasn’t enough to keep Cleveland off their heels. The Cavaliers controlled the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 32-18 with Spencer Hawes and former Warrior Jarrett Jack combining for 16 points.

Watching the Cavs build their runs and begin to celebrate made everything worse for Curry who told SFBay it made the loss ever harder to swallow:

“That’s deflating. Their bench was getting up and getting excited and guys on the court were chest bumping and you hate to see people do that on your own court.  Kinda pisses you off.  We’ll remember that.”

Curry was the only Warrior to score more than three points through the third quarter (12). And with Curry’s minutes limited due to a right quad strain, and Klay Thompson missing his first game ever to attend his grandfather’s funeral, Golden State found little in the way of scoring and lost control of the game.

David Lee had 13 first-half points but just three in the second half.  The Warriors’ front court was completely shut down by Hawes and Anderson Varejao whose domination of the paint allowed Bogut only four points all night.

Lee said giving life to a team like Cleveland allows them to become the more aggressive team and told SFBay when that happens, its hard to dig out of that hole:

“They were the aggressor in the second half and I think a lot of times the whistle goes to the aggressor, rightfully so. We just didn’t play a good game on either end, top to bottom on the roster.”

The Cavs started the fourth quarter with an 84-71 lead and never allowed the Warriors to get within nine points.

The Warriors, now 41-26 overall, visit Portland Sunday before returning for a five-game home stand against Orlando, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Memphis and New York.

Notes

The loss to Cleveland snapped the Warriors’ five-game home winning streak. … Golden State is just 18-9 vx. the Eastern Conference, but just 7-5 at home vx the conference. … The Warriors have lost consecutive games for the first time since falling to Indiana on Jan. 20 and to Minnesota on Jan. 24. … Klay Thompson missed the game to attend his grandfather’s funeral, the first game he’s missed in his NBA career ending the second-longest active games played streak at 214, which trailed only the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan. … On his 26th birthday, Stephen Curry scored 27 points to go with eight assists.


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