Long live the king!!!
Last night’s Thursday’s matchup between the league-best Golden State Warriors and red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers was billed as a potential NBA Finals preview. As with so many high-profile games before it, the night was dominated by Lebron James.
The Cavs superstar scored a season-high 42 points on 15-of-25 shooting as Cleveland beat Golden State 110-99. The Warriors got out to a hot start in a high-scoring first quarter but were handled by the Cavaliers over the final three quarters in a game whose result rarely seemed in doubt.
In addition to his impressive scoring total, James added 11 boards, five assists, and three steals over 36 minutes. Take a look at some of his highlights below:
Cleveland’s win ran their current home winning streak to 11 games, their best mark since LeBron’s final pre-Miami season in 2009-10. In all, the Cavs have won 18 of their last 20 games, good enough to make them the hottest team in the league and the ostensible favorite in the East despite holding third place in the conference at nine games behind the first-place Atlanta Hawks.
While Cleveland’s offense gets much of the attention, their defense arguably impressed more vs. Golden State. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 30 points on 10-of-30 shooting. MVP candidate Curry especially struggled when guarded by taller wings and looked off most of the game.
It’s awfully early to predict what will happen over the next several months, but the Cavaliers look increasingly like a team that can adjust its lineups to frustrate many different kinds of opponents. The additions of Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert have given them balance, and Kevin Love (16 points and eight rebounds) looks more comfortable even he continues to influence the offense overwhelmingly from the perimeter. It took a bit, but this squad resembles the juggernaut many expected.