CLEVELAND (AP) — This season, the Warriors have made their mark in the third quarter, but it took until the fourth to wrestle control away from the Cavaliers, who were shorthanded on Thursday night at Rocket Mortgage Arena.Golden State trailed by ten points entering the fourth quarter against a Cleveland team that was missing four of its top six scorers, but was able to pull away for a 104-89 victory.
The Warriors held Cleveland to eight points in the fourth quarter, a total that Stephen Curry and Damion Lee both surpassed.Curry and Lee fueled a fourth-quarter surge fueled by Golden State’s suffocating defence, giving the Warriors the separation they had been looking for all night. In the fourth quarter, the two guards combined for 29 points — 20 by Curry and nine by Lee — as the Warriors overcame an 81-71 deficit. Curry had a game-high 40 points, and Draymond Green had a season-high 12 assists.
The majority of the game, however, was dominated by a mishmash of Cavaliers.The Warriors eked out a win with two runs and big contributions from the bench.In the fourth quarter, Lee and Curry stepped up, but Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica provided the spark that lifted the Warriors out of a 10-0 hole.
Bjelica scored 14 points in one of his best games since joining the Warriors, and Golden State outscored Cleveland by 22, second only to Lee’s plus-28.Even in a losing effort, the tall ball Cavs exposed some flaws in the small ball Warriors.
The Cavs shot 52.6 percent in the first quarter but only went downhill from there, culminating in a fourth quarter where they were limited to 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) and outscored by 28 points.Only three times in franchise history have the Warriors outscored an opponent by at least 28 points in a quarter.
The Cavaliers’ eight-point output was the lowest of any NBA team in any quarter this season.Simply put, they started missing and stopped getting the rebound when they did, allowing the Warriors to take control in the fourth quarter.
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