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Wounded Warriors race past CavaliersBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Jan 30, 2013
CLEVELAND -- The Golden State Warriors had every excuse in the book to lose Tuesday's game. Missing four key performers, the Warriors responded with a 108-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers before an announced crowd of 13,939 at Quicken Loans Arena. Cavs coach Byron Scott warned his players that the Warriors were going to come out like a wounded animal. Unfortunately for them, they didn't listen. "It was very easy to chalk one up and say we were short-handed," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I challenged them, and they stepped up to the challenge." Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson put on a dazzling shooting display, finishing with a career-high 32 points and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-7, 205-pounder from Washington State converted 13 of 24 shots from the floor, six of eight from behind the arc. He made his first six 3-pointers before he missed one late in the third quarter. Thompson's brother, Mychel, played briefly with the Cavs during the 2011-12 season. "It's a great shooting building," Thompson said of The Q. "There's something about Cleveland." Warriors point guard Jarrett Jack, stepping in for the injured Stephen Curry, was sensational in a starting role. He fired in 26 points and matched his career high with 12 assists. He was called "one heck of a security blanket" by Scott before the game. Golden State's starting guards were a combined 24-for-42 from the field, 9-for-12 from 3-point range. The Warriors (28-17) were playing without center Andrew Bogut, whom they are holding out of back-to-back games following his left ankle surgery; Curry (ankle), forward Harrison Barnes (knee) and key reserve Carl Landry (shoulder). The Warriors took control of the game in the second quarter when they rode Thompson's hot shooting and outscored the Cavs 32-21. They were in command at halftime, 55-44. "I knew for us to have a big night, Klay was going to have to score the basketball," Jackson said. "He did a great job offensively. He scored. I love the fact that he rebounded." Warriors power forward David Lee, a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team, produced his customary double-double. He ended with 20 points, a game-high 13 rebounds, eight assists and two steals. The Cavs (13-33) had a three-game winning streak snapped. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was sluggish and didn't play with his normal spunk. He was questionable for the game with a virus, and he missed the team's shootaround on Tuesday morning. However, after warming up before the game, he decided to play. "I wasn't myself with my mental focus," Irving said. "I tried to play through it. My normal energy wasn't there." The Eastern Conference Player of the Week finished with just 14 points, 10 under his average. He added three rebounds and four assists and shot just 5-for-17 from the field. "He didn't look like himself," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "The whole team feeds off (him). He wasn't 100 percent." Irving said the Warriors were impressive, playing on the second night of a back-to-back. "They kicked our butts tonight," Irving said. "I was trying to find something. I couldn't make a shot tonight." Shooting guard Dion Waiters and power forward Tristan Thompson each scored 18 points for the Cavs. Thompson added 11 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season. Waiters dished out a team-high seven assists. "They punched us in the mouth," Tristan Thompson said. Small forward Alonzo Gee was the only Cavs starter not to reach double figures in scoring. He was held scoreless in 28 minutes. Tyler Zeller, a 7-foot center, managed just three rebounds in 36 minutes. He did have 16 points and matched his career high with five assists. "We didn't play with energy or that sense of urgency," Scott said. "They came out aggressive, and we played on their heels all night long." Notes: The Cavs' Thompson suffered a contusion on his left middle finger. X-rays were negative. "The finger is fine," he said. "I came back in the game and played." ... The Cavs had a chance to finish .500 for the month of January, but they wound up 6-8. ... Jackson was asked if Irving compares to Portland's Damian Lillard. "Kyrie is as good as any point guard in basketball," Jackson said. "It's not fair to compare (Lillard) to Irving."
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