Thompson, Curry lead Warriors past Cavaliers for 6th straight win
On one side of the floor, LeBron James sat on Cleveland’s bench in a suit. On the other, Mark Jackson talked about his former team from the broadcast table.
And in the middle, the Golden State Warriors gave another highlight-worthy performance on their home court.
Klay Thompson finished with 24 points after receiving stitches on his forehead, Stephen Curry had 23 points and 10 assists, and the Warriors completed a perfect six-game homestand with a 112-94 win Friday night over the James-less Cavaliers.
"It went exactly as I had hoped," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his team’s blemish-free home stretch. "More importantly, we really kind of found our game again."
The NBA-leading Warriors (29-5) have won by an average of 22.1 points the past six games. They also had 32.8 assists and just 12.5 turnovers per game behind Kerr’s pace-and-space attack.
Golden State has won 14 in a row and 16 of 17 at rowdy Oracle Arena this season.
"It seems like, for the most part, if we keep it close defensively, eventually we’re going to have Klay and Steph hit back-to-back 3s and wear you out with the way we move the ball," center Andrew Bogut said.
Draymond Green added 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, helping the Warriors pull away in the fourth against a Cavaliers team that showed some fight without James but ended up with the same result: a loss.
Cleveland is 1-6 since James has been sidelined with a strained back and left knee. He’s expected to miss at least two more games.
J.R. Smith scored 27 points, Kyrie Irving had 23, and Kevin Love added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who stayed close most of the way until Golden State blitzed them late.
"There’s no reason to fall into a rut or a hole. I mean, we’re going to be better," Love said.
The Warriors have just been too much for most teams to handle for 48 minutes, especially at home, where they often use one big burst to put the game away.
Curry capped the latest run by bouncing off center Timofey Mozgov in the air, double-clutching his shot and banking it in to give the Warriors a 110-94 lead with 53 seconds to play. Curry flexed his arms over his shoulders as the Cavaliers called timeout.
The victory came in front of the man that had a hand in turning around the franchise.
Jackson returned to the arena for the first time since the Warriors fired him as coach after last season. He enjoyed hugs and handshakes with his former players before the game.
Jackson, who declined interview requests, also received a standing ovation from fans — and applause from some of his former players — when he was shown on the giant video screen during a timeout in the first quarter. He seemed unaware of what was happening at first, then stood and applauded the crowd.
The former coach had a front-row seat to watch his successor — who has continually credited Jackson for laying the foundation for success — guide Golden State to another wear-down-the-opponent win that is becoming the norm.
The Warriors outscored Cleveland 36 to 3 in fast-break points.
James, dressed in a suit on the bench, periodically hopped out of his seat after made baskets and joined his teammates in the huddle during some timeouts. But all he could do in the waning moments was watch as the Cavs continued to slide without him.
Cleveland has lost four in a row and eight of 10.
Cavs coach David Blatt said James took some shots during the morning shoot-around but didn’t do anything close to practicing. His target return date remains Thursday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
ALMOST A WARRIOR
Blatt said he had an agreement to be a Warriors assistant coach before Cleveland offered him their job last summer. He said Kerr supported his decision to back out and take the Cleveland gig.
Cavaliers: Forward Shawn Marion also sat out with a strained left hip. He is day to day.
Warriors: Golden State is 12-0 against the Eastern Conference this season. … Backup center Festus Ezeli missed his seventh straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Cavaliers: At Sacramento on Sunday.
Warriors: At Utah on Tuesday.