Game Night Observations: Disrespecting the game and a barrage of threes
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Danny Cunningham covers the Cleveland Cavaliers for 850 ESPN Cleveland and thelandondemand.comFriday night for the Cleveland Cavaliers served as the worst loss of the season, and it’s hard to imagine anything surpassing it the rest of the way.
The Golden State Warriors came to Cleveland on the second night of a back-to-back, sat their four best players, and still beat the Cavaliers 120-114.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green all sat back and watched from the bench as the Warriors built their lead as high as 20 points without their services by knocking down 3-pointer after 3-pointer to bury the Cavs. As impressive as the offensive display was by the Warriors backups, it was an embarrassment for the Cavs.
There are nights throughout an NBA season when one team has it and the other doesn’t. Over the course of an 82-game slate, that’s going to happen sometimes. There are days when there is nothing that can be done about it.
Friday night wasn’t one of those nights. It was a night that many fans came to the arena disappointed, due to the fact that the Warriors were missing so many stars for their only trip to Cleveland and left with a much bigger disappointment: the play of the Cavs.
The Cavs have had a handful of bad losses throughout the season, the blown leads in Minnesota and Utah come to mind, as does the loss in San Antonio and at home against Sacramento. This game, however, surpasses all of those. It’s hard to envision the Cavaliers having a worse loss the rest of the season than what happened on Friday night.
"We didn't respect the game,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the loss. “It's that simple. They've got champions over there, and we thought some of those guys were out so we were gonna take it lightly and we got what we deserved."
It can be human nature at times to let up when the opposing team isn’t at its best. This has happened at times in favor of the Cavs, but Friday night was the biggest example of the Cavaliers falling victim.
How it happened
The Warriors won this game not only because the Cavaliers seemingly took them lightly, but also because Golden State was lights out from beyond the 3-point arc. Friday night was the 12th time this season the Cavs have allowed 15 or more made 3-pointers in a game, with the 23 that the Warriors hit serving as a season-high for a Cavaliers opponent.
There have been nights throughout this season where a Cavs opponent has made a bunch of 3-pointers because they’ve made difficult shots. There have been other nights where it’s happened because the Cavaliers played subpar defensively. This night was much more the latter than the former.
Golden State started off the game blistering hot from 3-point range, knocking down nine of the first 11 3-point attempts. While it wasn’t realistic to quite keep up with that pace, the Warriors didn’t slow down very much.
It wasn’t just as if one guy on Golden State was doing all the damage, either. Sure, Jordan Poole finished with 32 points on five made 3-pointers, but in total there were eight members if the Warriors that attempted multiple 3-pointers against the Cavs and seven of them made multiple looks from deep. It was an absurdity that the Cavs couldn’t overcome, even if they’re the ones to blame for it.
It's hard to take away positives from this game. There weren’t many for the Cavs. What they do have going for them is that the Milwaukee Bucks are in town for an important game Saturday night. If the Cavs find a way to win that game, the loss to the Warriors will sting just a bit less.