The Warriors struggled for 3 quarters against Cleveland. Then Steph Curry went nuclear again.
On a night where the Golden State Warriors couldn’t hit a three-pointer or get a rebound, and trailed by double digits after three quarters, Steph Curry refused to let his team lose. He played all but the final minute of the 4th quarter and put up 20 points, spearheading a 17-0 run that helped put the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers away. Draymond Green had 14 assists, and Nemanja Bjelica scored 14 points off the bench and got three steals.
Curry almost single-handedly erased a 13-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth, making three three-pointers, two layups, and assisting Damion Lee on a layup amid a 17-0 run that put the Warriors ahead 85-81. Meanwhile, the team held the Cavs scoreless for the first 5:40, which included two 24-second clock violations. The extended Curry family scored the Warriors’ first 24 points of the 4th, with bro-in-law Lee throwing in nine to complement the 15 from Steph.
Darius Garland scored 25 points against his father’s old team, although he did have seven turnovers. Kevin Love had 17 points for the Cavaliers, who were missing starters Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Collin Sexton, plus backup Lauri Markkanen. Ed Davis had 14 rebounds and Dean “Not that D-Wade” Wade had 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
It was a night where every Warrior not named Steph Curry was ice-cold from distance. Steph was 9-16, and the rest of the team was 6-27 combined. Andrew Wiggins was 5-11 from the field, but 0-5 from distance. And the team couldn’t rebound their own misses, with Cleveland boxing out and pulling in 12 offensive rebounds in the first three quarters. Ed Davis gave Kevon Looney fits on the boards, despite Cleveland’s normal frontcourt being out.
Kerr was as amazed by Curry as everyone watching.
Steve Kerr on Steph Curry: “Nothing surprises me anymore, and yet I’m amazed… He’s a special, special player and person.”
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) November 19, 2021
The third quarter failed the Warriors, normally the time in the game where they dominate and pull away from their opponents. They ended up the victim of a scoring explosion from Kevin Love, who put up 11 in the quarter. The Dubs were hurt by some very ill-advised fouls, including a three-shot foul on Love and a bad foul on 7’6” Tacko Fall with 0.9 seconds remaining. Fall missed both shots, but Wade tipped in the miss as the buzzer sounded. It was the only 0.9 seconds Fall played until garbage time.
Cleveland started very hot, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and forcing a timeout, while the Warriors were thinking about the farm-to-table restaurant where they ate in Brooklyn. Or maybe they were distracted still smelling the champagne in the visitors’ locker room from three years ago.
As happens so often, the Warriors righted the ship by bringing in Gary Payton II. He and Bjelica came in and sparked a 15-2 run, with nine of the points coming from Bjelica. Steve Kerr said “Beli carried us in the first half.”
When Curry hit a three with 30 seconds remaining, the Warriors took their first lead of the game, although the NBA’s best-paid third-string big man, Kevin Love, answered with a three-pointer of his own.
Curry credited the team’s “Strength In Numbers” mentality for the win, and a big push came from some unheralded members of the bench. Lee was +30 in his 23 minutes, Juan Toscano-Anderson had been out of the rotation, but tonight he made all three of his shots and was +21. And a scoreless Otto Porter Jr. was still +24 in his 20 minutes of play.
Green’s 14 dimes made it 24 straight games with five or more assists. The Warriors’ late push got them to 100 points, the only team in the league to have hit the century mark in all of their games.
Cleveland played the theme song from Succession when the Warriors starting lineup was announced. Clearly Draymond Green is Logan, Andrew Wiggins is Kendall, Jordan Poole is Roman, Kevon Looney is Connor, and Steph is someone from a loving, competent family.