The Golden State Warriors sent a message to the league in their 126-91 drubbing of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The defending champs had no answer for the Warriors’ offensive attack, as the Dubs remain unbeaten when all three of Curry, Thompson and Durant score 20 or more points each. It was a collective effort and that’s when the Warriors are most dangerous. Cleveland couldn’t keep up with the Warriors in transition early in the game, and failed to make any significant dent in the lead from then on.
Putting too much stock into a regular season game in January can be problematic, but there is something to be said with how the Warriors handled their opponents on Monday night. Their signature ball movement was on full display, tallying 37 assists to Cleveland’s 11. The Cavs’ trio of Love, Irving, and James went a pedestrian 13-for-43 (30%), and struggled against a ramped up Golden State defense.
This is the Warriors team fans dreamed of going into the season. A ball movement, three point gun slinging, defensively locked in juggernaut that can rout any team on any court on any night.
It’s easy to undervalue the success of a team that’s coming off a 73-9 season, especially one that added Kevin Durant (who most believe to be the best player on the team). But the Warriors are standing at 35-6, on pace for yet another 70-win season. Having talent is one thing, but bringing it together the way this Warriors team has done over the last three plus years is special.
As much as LeBron doesn’t want to admit to the rivalry that has blossomed between these two squads, there certainly is some form of bad blood there. How could there not be after two consecutive – with a third on the horizon – classic matchups in the NBA Finals? The bickering was at an all-time high after Draymond Green landed a hard shot on LeBron while attempting to make a steal. The replays show that Green was at least making an effort to go for the ball, but LeBron took a “hard” fall and wasn’t all too happy when he made it back to his feet.
Green got slapped with a flagrant foul, which seemed a bit excessive at the time. Draymond still got the last laugh though with his +43 mark when he was on the floor, while LeBron finished with a plus/minus of -32.
Monday night may or may not have been a precursor to the NBA Finals, but it certainly put Cleveland and the rest of the league on notice. The Warriors are as good as advertised.
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