After 12-straight regular season wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Golden State Warriors have fallen to their Eastern Conference rival for the second time in a week after a 118-110 loss at Chase Center on Saturday.
Despite a strong third-quarter comeback, the Warriors faded in the fourth to fall to the eight-point defeat that pushes them back to 6-4 on the season. Golden State’s chronic turnover issues came back to haunt them again, doubling Cleveland in that category and losing the points off turnovers 32-8.
An eight-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers has succumbed the Golden State Warriors to their second-straight defeat and third in four games.
Golden State weren’t helped by the controversial ejection of veteran forward Draymond Green in the third-quarter. Cleveland star Donovan Mitchell retaliated to the former Defensive Player of the Year with an unnecessary foul in transition after Green had bumped him on the previous play. The Cavaliers guard was assessed a common foul, but the review allowed the referees to go back and give Green a second technical that had him tossed from the game.
Many were left bemused by the decision, but the Warriors utilized the angst to dominate the remainder of the period. After entering the second-half down by 16, a Chris Paul mid-range jumpshot gave the hosts the lead in the final 10 seconds, before Caris LaVert regained the advantage with a tip-in layup at the buzzer.
Golden State seemingly used all their energy in the third though, leaving a final period where the visitors steadied to run away with a comfortable win. The Warriors would look back and rue another disastrous second-quarter that proved crucial in the same way it had last Sunday in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers outscored the Warriors 38-21 in the second period, shooting 48.9% from the floor and 47.1% from three in the first-half. It was their 21 free-throw attempts in the first 24 minutes that was most pivotal, with Golden State’s foul issues compounded by nine turnovers and less than 40% shooting themselves.
The Warriors turned the water off on the Cavaliers offense in the third-quarter, but their general lack of perimeter defense and size on the interior was otherwise evident through the remainder of the game.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry had another 30 points on the night, yet often had to force things with the lack of a genuine second scorer. Klay Thompson had nine points in the fourth but just 14 for the game, with those late points proving fairly inconsequential. Andrew Wiggins had 13 and Jonathan Kuminga 12 off the bench, with the Warriors shooting 41.1% for the game and 34.2% from three-point range.
The Warriors will have to bounceback quickly with the red-hot Minnesota Timberwolves visiting on Sunday amid a five-game winning-streak.