Why did the Warriors defeat the Cavs?


The Golden State Warriors split the season series with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. What led up to the game and what created the end result?

The Golden State Warriors did not let a brutal collapse on Christmas Day define their season series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. What did the game look like leading into Monday night, and what did the Warriors ultimately end up doing to come away with the blowout win at home? How about starting with Stephen Curry being back.

Averaging 29.2 points this January on 48%shooting, the reigning two time MVP looks to have made resurgence after a rather pedestrian December. Warriors take on the Cavs for the first time of the calendar year; 2nd time this season and the 6th time in the last 6 or so months. Golden State has lost their last 4 against Lebron James and the Cavs and aim to make a statement this Monday. Stephen Currys numbers against Lebron James have been porous at the most as his NBA Finals performances have been very “un-curry” like to say the least.

Stephen Curry
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After totaling just 15 points on Christmas Day; expect something special from Chef Curry and co. Curry is still great and while this season has not been the splash of Curry filled excitement that spoiled us last season, he’s still the best shooter on the planet and capable of exploding on any given night. Curry has arguably taken the biggest step back on this new look Warriors lineup yet since the start of the new year his usage rate is up to 33.3% as his aggressiveness is beginning to more closely resemble last season’s.

Anyone’s best bet is to assume the Warriors are going treat this game with playoff importance and will seek to make a statement. The Cavs and Lebron have not been exactly humble after their wins in their previous meetings, so it would not at all be surprising to see this game played with some fire and tenacity. A small hint of revenge and vengeance might be simmering in the Warriors locker room this go around.

Golden State Warriors
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Yes, Durant is still alive

Kevin Durant has also struggled against Lebron James throughout his career and aims to make a statement tonight. Durant’s numbers have not taken any sudden leaps since the last meet up, as he is still scoring at an efficient clip and defending at a rather elite level.

The 4x scoring champion is special, and like his running mates Steph and Klay, is a threat to drop 40 on any night.  A legit argument can be made that Durant’s Thunder squad simply was not mature enough to take on James’ Heat in 2012 but now, part of a Warriors squad capable of going nuclear at any given time. The Cavs should take notice and Durant can and should hopefully be able to get over the hump.

More from Stephen Curry

On the Christmas Day loss to the dubs, KD had a solid 3 and a half quarters; a solid game overall except in the waning moments where he and his team failed to close out the Cavs even with a 14 point lead.

I imagine this go around, KD will be more locked in, especially in crunch time. If there was any more salt that could be added to this GS-Cle rivalry, it should be about at its boiling point; only to get better when the highly anticipated finals “threematch” comes back around.

Durant simply will not repeat his fourth quarter performance from Christmas  where he scored 0 field goals in the last 9 minutes. Look for a more focused Durant who seeks to make his 3-14 record against Lebron James a little less lopsided.

Cleveland struggles

Cleveland after their win against Golden State against Christmas is just 6-4 and have allowed over 100 points to all but one opponent (Pelicans) in that time span. They have also included a big pickup of Kyle Korver who might make this matchup a little different. Nonetheless, the Cavs will show up to play the Warriors in Golden State and I imagine both teams to take this game very seriously.

Outside of his 18 point performance a few nights ago, Korver’s addition has been disappointing to say the least. Outside of his game against Sacramento, Korver has just 3 made field goals on 15 attempts with Cleveland, 1 of which was a three pointer. Granted, he’ll need to to adjust to playing his new team, however playing against Golden State is not exactly the best game to practice chemistry.

Next: Top 25 Golden State Warriors in franchise history

How they won

Golden State has lost only 1 game since its first run in with Cleveland and is 8-2 over its last 10. Topple this with the Cavs recent struggles, and it was the perfect recipe for the Warriors to blow out the Cavaliers on Monday night.

Once again, assists led the way for the Warriors and Draymond Green played a huge role in facilitating the basketball. Having another impact player help move the ball serve as a reminder why Golden state is at their best moving.