Before Friday’s game, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr explained that resting four of his five starters against the Cleveland Cavaliers the night after an overtime loss to the Boston Celtics He neglected to clarify that he meant it would be brutal for the Cavs.
With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins in street clothes, the Warriors mounted a 3-point barrage to pull off an improbable 120-114 win in Cleveland. Golden State went 23 for 43 from beyond the arc, as every Warrior who played — except center Kevon Looney — knocked down at least one 3-pointer. The Warriors led by as many as 20 points, and they never trailed after the three-minute mark of the first quarter.
Jordan Poole led the way with 32 points, sinking a team-high five 3s in 12 attempts. Two-way player Anthony Lamb went 4 for 8 from long range, while Donte DiVincenzo, Ty Jerome and JaMychal Green made three 3-pointers apiece.
With Donovan Mitchell out with a groin injury, Darius Garland paced the Cavs with 31 points and 10 assists, while Caris LeVert added 22 points on 5-for-8 3-point shooting. Cleveland shot 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range, but they simply couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch to salvage a victory.
“We didn’t respect the game. It’s that simple,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the loss. “They’ve got champions over there, and we thought some of those guys were out so we were gonna take it lightly. We got what we deserved. … We weren’t good. We were disrespectful. We didn’t do the job we needed to do.”
This was a crucial win for the Warriors, who ended their five-game road trip at 3-2, improving their dismal record away from home to 6-18. All season Golden State has been looking to gain some momentum, and a strong performance in the overtime loss to Boston followed by this outstanding win by the reserves might just be the spark they needed.