If it was not already apparent, the Golden State Warriors are better than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After coming out strong in the first half, Cleveland’s offense went cold and the usual problems plagued the Cavaliers once again. Defense and poor shooting.
Golden State moved the ball with ease, tallying 31 assists on 41 made field goals. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 72 points.
Cleveland managed to shoot just 17-48 (35.4%) in the second half, while the Warriors shot an even 50%, with several of their baskets coming at or near the rim.
Cleveland’s energy was there in the first 24 minutes, they made early shots (58.3% in the first quarter) which allowed the home crowd at Quicken Loans Arena to become a factor.
LeBron James (16 points) and Kevin Love (10 points) led the way for the Cavaliers in the opening 12 minutes. The production from those two Cavaliers is the main reason why Cleveland led 37-35 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was highlighted by one of LeBron’s signature blocks, this time the victim was Durant, who blew past James and appeared to have an easy layup.
Cleveland again shot the ball well in the second quarter (12-22, 54.5%) and the defense held its own against the Warriors juggernaut offense.
At the half the Cavaliers led 64-57, but this contest between these two rivals was far from over.
One bright spot was the play of Isaiah Thomas, who was only playing in his 5th game after returning from his severe hip injury. I.T. played 32 minutes quality minutes, scoring 19 points and connected with LeBron on a couple rim-rattling dunks.
But the second half was a different story. Cleveland was limited to just 44 points and their offense stalled, just like last Friday night in Indiana. Entering the fourth quarter trailing 93-91, the Cavaliers started 2-17 from the floor and never recovered.
Golden State pulled away in the final five minutes and won their 13th straight road game 118-108. Meanwhile this loss snapped Cleveland’s 13 game home winning streak.
James finished with 32 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, but turned the ball over 8 times. Love added 17 points and 7 rebounds.
Cleveland is now in a difficult situation, having lost 8 of their last 10 games and currently hold a 26-17 record.
The time is now for the Cavaliers to pull the trigger on a potential blockbuster deal. This Cavaliers team as currently constructed will not make much noise come playoff time.
Whether it is a lack of effort or just the long grind of an 82 game season, Cleveland has completely lost their mojo. Teams are no longer afraid of the Cavaliers and take pleasure in walking all over this hapless Cleveland team.
Now is the time to bring up the names such as DeAndre Jordan, Demarcus Cousins and Paul George. These are three All-Stars who would hopefully improve the Cavaliers roster.
Out of those three names, the most likely one to be dealt to the Cavaliers is Jordan, who has been linked to Cleveland for the last couple months. The trade reportedly hinges on whether the Cavaliers will include the Brooklyn Nets 1st-round pick that they own.
As of now Cleveland seems reluctant to make that move, but after last night’s beatdown to the Warriors, the Cavaliers front office may reconsider.
This slump the Cavaliers are in may be one they cannot overcome with the team they currently have. Making a move to acquire an All-Star such as Jordan or George could be the move necessary to get Cleveland out of their funk.
In the past teams with championship aspirations have made big deals to acquire more talent, but it is a risk-reward scenario. There is no telling a trade for an All-Star caliber player will even help the Cavaliers moving forward.
Even a move to add an All-Star to the Cavaliers may not even be enough to overcome the Warriors in the Finals, if Cleveland can get there first.