The Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves in a difficult situation Wednesday night. In the midst of a 6-game road trip, they traveled to the Bay Area to play the Golden State Warriors. In their win against the Clippers, Cleveland lost Tyler Zeller when he caught an inadvertent elbow from DeAndre Jordan and suffered a fractured cheekbone and concussion. Just before the game, the team announced that Anderson Varejao would be scratched due to a right knee bruise.Without their top-2 centers, Samardo Samuels slid into the starting lineup for the Cavaliers. The final result was a 106-96 loss to the Warriors.
Cavs leaders: Points: Irving, 28; Rebounds: Thompson, 10; Assists: Irving, 7
Warriors perspective: Golden State Of Mind
Stuff about the game that happened:
Apparently the Cavs upset Jobu on this road trip because their players are dropping like flies. As I said before, Varejao and Zeller are both out, C.J. Miles and Kyrie Irving got food poisoning before the game, Dion Waiters was limping after the game with a thigh bruise -- our pets' heads are falling off!
Without Varejao in the lineup and Kyrie Irving wanting to puke, the team immediately lacked energy. The first quarter did not feature any defense from the Cavaliers at all. Nobody fought through screens and Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry were wide open to make love to the gods via their gorgeous jumpshots. Curry alone scored 15 in the first quarter. The Warriors as a team scored 37.
The Cavs managed to find some energy and climb out of the 16 point deficit and regain the lead. However, it was short-lived and the Warriors quickly took control again. Without Andy or Zeller, the Dubs were able to abuse the Cavs with their big men all night long. Jon Leuer and Samardo Samuels looked lost on defense and Carl Landry and David Lee took advantage. Tristan Thompson was okay-ish, but not great by any means. He finished with a double-double.
Lee and Landry combined for 41 points on 18 of 26 shooting and added 23 rebounds. It wasn't a good night for the Cavs' bigs (which makes sense because they had no centers). Byron Scott ended his post-game press conference with one word: "defense."
In the battle of the two lottery picks, Harrison Barnes probably had a better game than Dion Waiters. Waiters had a poor shooting night, connecting on just 5 of his 15 shot attempts. Barnes was basically a non-factor until the final quarter when the Cavs decided to defend him with Daniel Gibson for some reason. Barnes posted up Gibson and got several easy baskets. Barnes hit the game-clinching three late in the quarter. Despite Waiters' off-night, he still had an okay game by dishing out 5 assists to his zero turnovers. That's one of the biggest differences between the two of them. I'm not sure Barnes can really impact the offense when he isn't scoring. Waiters has the ability to penetrate and run pick and rolls to create for others.
Samardo Samuels played pretty well on the offensive end. He makes some good cuts to the basket and Kyrie found him a couple of times. C.J. Miles was terrible. He shot 3 of 11 and took seven threes. He needs to drive to the basket more. I can't really blame him for tonight's game because he had food poisoning, but he hasn't looked good in the first five games of the year. I expect him to get better, but it will probably take some time.
Tonight made it abundantly clear how valuable Anderson Varejao is to the Cavaliers. Without his energy, defense, and offensive rebounding, the Cavs kind of suck. I would like to not trade him. That'd be super.
Fear The Sword's Player of the Game:
Kyrie Irving is ridiculous.
He played with food poisoning and said in post-game that it was the "worst thing he's ever done." Despite that, he somehow dropped 28 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. And he didn't even play that well. I'm sorry, but Kyrie Irving is ridiculous.