The Cavaliers were able to develop a strong offensive flow early in the game and were able to consistently generate good looks against a slightly lackadaisical Warriors defense. LeBron James, after a quiet and disjointed performance on Christmas, was stellar. He finished at the rim, belted multiple layups in chasedown fashion. James finished with 32 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks in the loss.
Isaiah Thomas played his first game against the Warriors and, while he was much better than he’d been in his last two outings, he still struggled to find his rhythm as a scorer. Thomas finished 8-21 from the field and 1-7 from three-point range. His shot looked flat at times - this is all part of coming back from serious injury. He looked quick, though the Warriors were able to attack him on the other side of the ball.
Overall, the Cavs three-point shooting was just out of whack in this game, and that’s not something they have the luxury of happening to them. The Warriors are too good in transition to miss open threes and allow for long rebounds. They don’t have to completely scorch the nets, but open threes have to drop.
Kevin Durant continues to be a problem the Cavs can’t solve, and a big part of that is their lax transition defense. Durant can grab a rebound and sprint his way into an open dunk or a shooting foul. It’s just too easy, and unless the Cavs collectively commit to have better floor balance and effort, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to slow him down any time soon.
The Cavs have now lost eight of their last 10. Home court through the East is looking to be beyond their grasp. If they don’t figure things out soon, so will home court in the second round. This loss tonight wasn’t particularly discouraging, but it came at a time when the Cavs could ill-afford one.
The Cavs get two days off before hosting the Magic on Thursday. We’ll see if they’re ready to play.