Despite a nightmare season, the Warriors still own the Cleveland Cavaliers

Last night, for the first time in many moons, the Dubs looked something like “THE WARRIORS” as they obliterated the Cavs in Ohio, 131-112.

Full disclosure: The wife and I caught the impish blockbuster “Bad Boys III” right after the fantastic win and now I’m amped up to Nick Young-at-the-parade-with-Henny levels.

I think it’s time to use some famous Will Smith movie gifs to transmit just how encouraging that big win was.

“From now on, that’s how you shoot!”

The Warriors revolutionized the NBA through the Splash Bros’ elite marksmanship over their five straight Western Conference championships. Per Basketball Reference, between the 2014-2015 and 2018-2019 seasons the Dubs had five of the top ten most accurate shooting seasons from beyond the arc.

But in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s absences, the Dubs have plummeted to bottom-five accuracy from three-point range.

That’s why it was so refreshing to watch them load up the super soakers and wet up the Cavs for 18-of-35 shooting from downtown (51%!!). Point guard D’Angelo Russell led Golden State’s scorching onslaught, knocking down 6-of-11 triples en route to 19 points.

The Dubs ended up breaking their franchise record for most threes in a third quarter with 10, blowing the Cavs away in the period. Man, it’s been a while since we’ve seen the Warriors use a hellacious third to end a game early.

Remember when third quarter runs were their calling card? During their five year dynastic run they led the league each season in third quarter plus/minus. The team is currently bottom five in that category, but not as bad as the Cavs who are…. dead last.

Draymond crushes Cleveland’s hopes (again)

Former Cavs GM David Griffin spoke to the Athletic last year regarding Cleveland’s fans emotions toward the Warriors: “There’s a lot of malice toward Draymond and probably always will be. He’s the one guy that’ll always be thought of as a rival.“

Sure enough, the Cavs fans lustily booed Green in pregame introductions last night.

The last healthy member of the Hamptons 5 was activated by that good ol’ Cleveland animosity and tied his career high in assists with 16. He was even feeling it from deep, draining two triples. Green kept the Warriors pace humming, especially in that buzzsaw third quarter.

The Dubs racked up 39 assists to only 10 turnovers, whipping the ball around with a purpose that coach Steve Kerr has been drilling into this franchise since Day 1. Green’s always been at his best operating the controls as a point-forward in a run-n-gun offense, as I’m sure Cleveland remembers.

#LOONBACK

Kevon Looney, Golden State’s most battle-tested non-Draymond big man option, has struggled with injuries throughout his short career. This season he’s been limited to only 11 games as he rehabs from a nerve condition, but grabbed four rebounds, two steals, and a block in 13 minutes in Cleveland.

Of the Warriors 11 wins this season, he was on the court for four of them. As much as we’ve mourned the absences of All-Stars on the roster, there’s no doubt that Looney has an impact on the Dubs winning ball games.

It was good to see him back out there on the floor!

For one night, Dub Nation forgot about the losing season

This game had all the fingerprints of a classic Warriors-Cavs beatdown. Now I know what you’re probably thinking: no need to get this excited for a win over the depleted Cleveland franchise.

Au contraire!

  1. It took the Warriors five months to get this eleventh win. Just because I’ve seen a few trophy ceremonies doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate these (suddenly rare) moments of joy.

  2. The reason Cleveland is in ashes is because the Warriors dynasty laid devastating waste to everything within a 10 mile radius of the "Q” and ran LeBron James/Kyrie Irving out of town. #thanksKD

There’s something about facing the Cleveland Cavaliers that invigorates the Golden State Warriors franchise.

  • In 2015, the Dubs won their first championship by surviving a 2-1 deficit to win the title on the Cavaliers’ home floor.

  • In 2016, the Warriors learned how to handle failure and derision after blowing a 3-1 lead and giving Cleveland their first championship.

  • In 2017 Golden State galvanized under intense media pressure and massive expectations to avenge themselves against the Cavs in the Finals.

  • In 2018 they weathered the exhausting grind of inner friction and hungry opponents, culminated by sweeping LeBron James out of Ohio, and enjoying yet another champagne celebration in “The Land”.

  • Now in 2020, the Warriors are suffering growing pains and practicing patience. The Splash Bros are out of commission, forcing an accelerated youth movement that for the majority of the season has yielded few victories.

The team needed a fresh moment of encouragement and inspiration, and right on cue the champagne stained walls of Quicken Loans Arena provided it.

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