“The team that gives up a game-tying three late in regulation almost always loses in overtime,” quipped Golden State Warriors’ broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald.
But the Warriors bucked that trend on Sunday night, staying resilient and coming away with a 108-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime to kick off a seven-game road trip.
It appeared that the Warriors (19-13) had control of the game, up three with 16 seconds remaining and a foul to give. However, head coach Mark Jackson elected not to intentionally foul, and could only watch as Kyrie Irving knocked down a game-tying three-pointer with nine seconds to play. Stephen Curry’s runner at the buzzer fell just short to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, the Warriors were able to hang around and come alive in the final minutes. A layup by Harrison Barnes and a dunk by Draymond Green gave the Warriors a 106-104 lead, and a clutch jumper by Curry sealed the deal, putting the Warriors up four with 13 seconds left.
It was another game in which the Warriors started poorly. Lackadaisical defense early on allowed the Cavaliers (10-20) to go on a 15-0 run in the first quarter, and they held a 17-point lead at one juncture. The only thing that kept the Warriors remotely close was the hot shooting of Curry, who made all five of his three-point attempts in the first half and had 25 points at the break.
However, like they’ve done in the past, the Warriors woke up in the second half. As Curry cooled down, David Lee and the defense stepped up. Golden State tied the game at 82-82 late in the third quarter, and kept the intensity on until the final buzzer.
Tale of the Tape
- Field Goals: 44.2% (42-95)
- 3-Pointers: 30.3% (10-33)
- Rebounds: 51
- Assists: 30
- Turnovers: 17
- Field Goals: 41.3% (38-92)
- 3-Pointers: 62.5% (10-16)
- Rebounds: 44
- Assists: 21
- Turnovers: 15
Green Steps Up
Tonight was yet another example of the importance of Draymond Green to the Warriors. Although he shot just 2-of-10 from the floor, those two baskets were two of the biggest in the game. With a minute remaining in regulation, Green made a three that put the Warriors up 109-106. If it wasn’t for the effort of Irving, that would have been the game-winner. And in overtime, Green cut beautifully to the basket on a fastbreak and dunked, which gave the Warriors the lead again with under a minute to go.
Green finished with five points, a career-high 12 rebounds, and made plenty of plays defensively that won’t show up on the stat sheet, but were paramount to the Warriors’ win.
The Comeback Kids
Usually, a 17-point comeback is pretty substantial. But it pales in comparison to the Warriors’ other comeback wins this season, overcoming deficits of 18 (vs. Dallas), and 27 (vs. Toronto).
However, it would be nice if they would quit fooling around early in the game and put themselves in a tight situation. The Warriors lead the league with 13 games decided by four points or less, and they are 6-7 in those games.
Good to Know
Stephen Curry’s insane first half shot chart:
What’s on Tap
The Warriors will travel to Orlando and play the Magic on New Year’s Eve. Golden State has lost eight of its last nine games against the Magic.
Golden State will then open the New Year in Miami on January 2. Get your Golden State Warriors vs Miami Heat tickets here.