Cavs face tough test in sharp-shooting Warriors

Stephen Curry has helped propel the offensive exploits of the Golden State Warriors.

Ben Margot/AP

While the Golden State Warriors keep piling up wins as they get closer to full strength, the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to plummet without LeBron James.

After Andrew Bogut made a surprising return, the Warriors will try to continue their ridiculous scoring pace as they seek a 14th consecutive home victory Friday night against the trade-happy Cavaliers.

Golden State’s Klay Thompson finished with 40 points – one shy of his career best – and hit six 3-pointers Wednesday, while Stephen Curry added 21 to go along with a season high-tying 15 assists and four 3s in a 117-102 win over visiting Indiana.

The league-best Warriors (28-5) have scored 120.7 per game on 50.9 percent shooting – including 43.0 from 3-point range – over their last six home games and average a league-best 113.8 points there.

Now they’re continuing to get healthier in the frontcourt at they try to extend their longest home winning streak since a club-record 15-game run set from Dec. 13, 1989-Feb. 15, 1990.

Bogut, who opened the season as the starting center, finished with four points and eight rebounds Wednesday when he returned about a week early from a 12-game absence due to knee chondromalacia and bone edema.

Forward David Lee is averaging 10.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in nine games since missing 24 with a hamstring injury.

"I need to get into a rhythm myself and feel like I’m playing well going into the playoffs," Bogut said.


Marreese Speights and Draymond Green have taken advantage of their opportunities in the frontcourt. Green has averaged 11.0 points, 10.8 boards, 2.5 steals and 2.5 blocks in the past four games, while Speights has scored 18.3 per game.

"(Speights) has earned (the starting job). He’s played so well," said coach Steve Kerr, whose club is 11-0 versus Eastern Conference opponents. "I want to ease Bogut back."

Without Thompson in the most recent meeting with the Cavaliers, Curry finished with 27 points and five 3-pointers and Green contributed 18 points and nine rebounds in a 103-94 home loss March 14.

Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving scored 16 in that contest and he had a season-high 38 in Wednesday’s 105-93 home loss to Houston.

Kevin Love added 17 points and 16 boards, giving him an average of 25.5 and 12.5 over his last four games. He’s also scored 30.3 per game to go with 14.7 rebounds in his last three versus Golden State.

Cleveland (19-17), however, has scored 89.6 per game on 39.3 percent shooting while losing six of seven with James sitting the past six due to knee and back injuries.

Iman Shumpert isn’t expected to make his Cavs debut because of a dislocated left shoulder after he came over from New York along with J.R. Smith in Monday’s three-team trade. Smith went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting Wednesday.

The Cavaliers then acquired Timofey Mozgov from Denver on Wednesday for two first-round draft picks. The Cavs feel he can fill in at center after Anderson Varejao went down for the season with a torn Achilles.

"It’s something that we need," James said. "It’s something that once Andy went down, it was something obviously we needed to get bigger in the interior and adding a guy like that who can protect the rim, it will help our team as well."

Cleveland hopes to avoid matching its longest skid of the season at four as it opens a five-game western trip. James isn’t expected back until Wednesday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Cavaliers snapped a six-game slide in this series with their victory in March.