This match ended exactly as expected. Unfortunately, this rivalry is survived by distant memories. The Warriors haven’t stepped inside the Quicken Loans Arena since they swept the Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals back in early June, hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in front of the Cleveland community’s face for the third time.
However, the Cavaliers are a whole different team now and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. After LeBron left, the team has only amounted to a total of five wins throughout 21 games. Collin Sexton has been the focal point of the team with Kevin Love out with an injury after toe surgery. JR Smith wants out which makes people assume the entire squad is attempting to tank this season.
Ironically, the Warriors stayed the same. They added a couple key additions with some proper bench role players like Jonas Jerebko, Jacob Evans, and Western Conference All-Star Demarcus Cousins.
The Warriors have won the last four regular-season meetings against the Cavaliers, including the playoffs. The Warriors have won the last eight matchups versus the Cavs.
In just his third game back from injury, former MVP Steph Curry played like an animal who’s just been let out of his cage for the first time in months. He was all over the place, providing 42 points on 11-for-20 shooting and 9-for-14 from deep. This concluded his second 40-point game of the season. All in all, Curry is playing out of his mind and proving to all the doubters why he should be an MVP candidate this season.
Kevin Durant finished just shy of a triple-double, needing just one more assist. Durant finished the night strong with 25 total points and 10 rebounds. Durant became the main focus of the team because of Curry’s previous injury. However, with Curry back in the lineup, the Warriors are now on a two-game win streak.
The stat that really pops out is they only committed nine turnovers. They’re 3-0 so far this season when committing 10 or less.
As for the Cavaliers, they played with a lot of heart and grit on the court. The Cavaliers were actually leading the Warriors at halftime 64-59. The Warriors went on a 22-6 run in the third quarter yet they only had a four-point lead on the Cavaliers. However, the Warriors did their usual Warriors effort and scored 71 points in the second half.
It’s clear that a strong player acquisition is missing from the Cavaliers.
Tristan Thompson is the only rotational veteran from the four Finals appearances that remain amongst the team. Thompson continues to thrive this season and showed his skill set thoroughly last night. He ended on a high note with a double-double once again with 14 points and a game-high 19 rebounds. He went 6-of-8 from the field to top it off with three assists.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, it does feel like a tanking season, especially after trading their best shooting guard Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz just a couple of days ago. We’ll see what happens in the future, including who they might pick up in the 2019 NBA Draft.