Warriors at Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ latest meltdown comes just as the team is preparing to host the rival Golden State Warriors on national TV on Monday. The Cavaliers will try to put their internal griping aside and get some stops on the defensive end against the Warriors, who are enjoying a string of 12 straight road wins.
The Cavaliers were blasted by a total of 62 points in losses at Minnesota and Toronto before going into Indiana on Friday and building a 22-point lead in the first quarter only to fall 97-95. “We have enough talent here to get over that hump and make good things happen,” forward Kevin Love told reporters. “But right now it’s just tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it is there and, this being my fourth year here, we will get out of it and we will get better.” The Warriors, who beat the Cavaliers 99-92 on Christmas Day, are battling through their own rough stretch of schedule and nearly squandered a 27-point halftime lead at Toronto on Saturday before holding on to earn a 127-125 win on the second night of a back-to-back. “Obviously, we wanted to extend that, keep that lead, but they’re a good team, and it’s hard to win on the road in the NBA,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson told ESPN.com. “It doesn’t matter who you play, and they have a great home crowd. A win is a win, especially on a back-to-back.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (35-9): Golden State got point guard Stephen Curry (ankle) back from a two-game absence on Saturday and watched him collect 24 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Curry, who sat out the meeting with the Cavaliers on Christmas with an ankle injury, was the only player that might have been well-rested in Toronto, which marked the Warriors’ third game in four nights and seventh in 11 days. Kevin Durant played in each of the last three games but is not showing any fatigue while shooting 64.3 percent from the floor and 58 percent from 3-point range in that span.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (26-16): Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue cryptically talked to reporters about the need to get rid of “agendas” on the team after a 133-99 loss in Toronto on Thursday but was trying to look at the positives after the loss in Indiana. “It was a great effort,” Lue told reporters. “With (Dwyane Wade) out and (Isaiah Thomas) out. Guys may have been a little tired, but I thought we fought and played with the right purpose, defensively especially. We’ve just got to continue to build off that.” Thomas, who is sitting out back-to-backs after coming off a hip injury, is expected to play on Monday and is hoping for a better performance after going 2-of-15 for four points at Toronto.
1. Cavaliers SG JR Smith is 4-of-22 from the floor, including 1-of-12 from 3-point range, in the last three games.
2. Warriors SF Omri Casspi (back) sat out the last two games and is day-to-day.
3. Golden State took six of the last seven from Cleveland, including a five-game win in the NBA Finals last spring.