The Cleveland Cavaliers took Martin Luther King Junior Day off and got clotheslined by the Golden State Warriors 126-91 Monday night. For the Cavaliers it was their first game in Oracle Arena since winning Game Seven of the NBA Finals in the Warriors building last June. Perhaps the Oracle Arena visitors locker room, such a happy place for LeBron and company, lulled the Cavaliers into a false sense of security because this game was never close.
It was announced prior to the game that the Cavaliers would not rest any players in their primetime matchup with Shaun Livingston and the Warriors, but once the game tipped off it sure looked like the Cavs big three thought they had an off night. It was the Cavs sixth game of a six game road trip and while fans were surely hoping for a more competitive game it was easy to see this result coming. The game started off poorly for the Wine and Gold as the Warriors blitzed them in the first quarter. Cleveland struggled with turnovers and in transition defense which lead to easy baskets for Golden State.
Perhaps the most entertaining portion of the game came in the second quarter when LeBron James and Draymond Green got in an altercation.
Warriors' Draymond Green hard fouls Cavaliers' LeBron James & then mocks his flailing (all angles) pic.twitter.com/rzOTYiXhFt— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 17, 2017
Draymond hit LeBron with a clothesline and mocked him for flopping after the foul was called. Perhaps if Klay Thompson and Draymond had a better relationship Draymond would be aware of the potential consequences of mocking the King. James clearly sold the foul which got under the skin of Green and the Warriors. At this point its apparent that Green is content to take childish cheap shots at the expense of his team and LeBron is happy to take them, it’s a man’s league after all.
The rest of the game was fairly uneventful as the Warriors had a sizable lead and the Cavaliers look disengaged and ready to head back to Cleveland. Tyronn Lue played some odd rotations, forced in part by early fouls picked up by Kyrie Irving, and the defense missed too many rotations. Kyle Korver in particular struggled defensively and Kyrie Irving committed quite a few unforced errors. But for all of Cleveland’s this game belonged to Golden State. The Warriors were clicking and when they are clicking they’re extremely tough to beat. The Cavaliers coaches and players surely won’t read too much into one game but the Warriors organization has to feel good about getting their first win against the Cavs in their last five games.
This was not an enjoyable game from the Cleveland perspective and like the team I assume many viewers checked out well before halftime. Luckily, the Cavs have a few days to rest before they take on the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.