Tired, short-handed and eager to get home, the Golden State Warriors could have taken the night off.
Instead, they looked like a team that needs to be taken seriously.
Klay Thompson scored a career-high 32 points and the Warriors, playing without three starters and a key reserve, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-95 Tuesday night.
The Warriors were missing guard Stephen Curry (ankle), center Andrew Bogut (ankle) and forward Harrison Barnes (knee). Also, Carl Landry, one of the first players off Golden State’s bench, didn’t play because of a shoulder injury.
In all, the Warriors were missing an average of 49.1 points and 19.5 rebounds, but that didn’t matter. Golden State shot 54 percent, including 11 for 16 on 3-pointers as it hit the first nine from beyond the arc. The Warriors took control in the second quarter and built a 16-point lead in the second half.
”No matter who is out there, we’re still going to play Warriors basketball,” said David Lee, had 20 points and 13 rebounds. ”We could have mailed it in on the last game of a road trip, but everybody stepped up with a bunch of guys out.”
The Warriors played the finale of a four-game road trip and were coming off a victory in Toronto on Monday.
”That’s a big-time win,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. ”That’s a statement game for us. I’m extremely proud of my guys. It would’ve been very easy to chalk one up (a loss) because we were short-handed, but I challenged them – and they stepped up.”
Jarrett Jack, starting at point guard, had 26 points and 12 assists.
”I had to channel my inner Stephen Curry tonight,” he said.
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who missed the morning shootaround because he was sick, scored 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting in 36 minutes. Irving was coming off the best week of his career when he averaged a league-best 35.7 points in three wins, was selected as a reserve to the Eastern Conference All-Star team, and was named the conference’s player of the week on Monday.
”I just wasn’t there in terms of my mental focus,” Irving said. ”That’s no excuse. I tried to play through it, but my normal energy wasn’t there. I’m just feeling like crap.”
”He didn’t look like himself,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. ”I didn’t think, obviously, he was 100 percent.”
Scott warned his players before the game that the Warriors would be ready to play. It would appear they didn’t listen.
”We’ve got to treat it like a wounded animal,” he said. ”It has no choice. It’s going to come out fighting.”
”They just kicked our butts, to be honest with you,” Irving said.
Tristan Thompson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, and Dion Waiters also scored 18 points. The Cavaliers fell short in their bid for their first four-game winning streak since late in the 2009-10 season – LeBron James’ final year with the team.
Klay Thompson was 13 of 24 from the field, including 6 for 8 on 3s.
”It wasn’t just me,” he said. ”My teammates found me, and we just played great tonight. We didn’t have four of our premier players, but it just shows the depth of our team.”
Curry, who leads the Warriors with a 21-point average, didn’t play after twisting his right ankle Monday. Jackson said he doesn’t know how long Curry, who has had surgery on the ankle in each of the past two offseasons, will be out.
Bogut, who returned Monday after missing 38 games with an injury to his left ankle, likely won’t play in back-to-back games until after the All-Star break. Barnes, a rookie, was out with a sore left knee sustained against Toronto while Landry, a forward off the bench, was sidelined with a bruised left shoulder that also occurred Monday.
Golden State raced to a 13-4 lead less than four minutes into the game. The Cavaliers regrouped and led 27-25 in the second quarter, but the Warriors regained control.
Klay Thompson hit three 3-pointers, a jump shot and a dunk to help the Warriors build a 13-point lead twice. Golden State led 55-44 and shot 59 percent, including making all six of their 3-point attempts, in the first half.
The Warriors’ continued to pull away in the third quarter when Thompson hit two 3-pointers and scored 12 points. Golden State led 84-68 going into the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers, who rallied from a 20-point deficit to defeat Milwaukee on Friday, cut the lead to 97-89 with about three minutes to play, but Jack hit a 3-pointer and another basket, pushing the lead to 102-89.
Notes: G Kent Bazemore, an undrafted rookie, scored a career-high nine points for Golden State. … Jack tied a career high with his 12 assists. … Cavaliers F Alonzo Gee was scoreless in 28 minutes. … F Luke Walton (left foot and ankle) missed his second straight game. … G Daniel Gibson (sprained right big toe) was also out. … Following Friday’s game in Detroit, Cleveland plays seven in a row at home.