Instant Replay: Warriors blow early lead, fall to Cavs

Instant Replay: Warriors blow early lead, fall to Cavs
March 14, 2014, 9:30 pm
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Stephen Curry, celebrating his 26th birthday, made a heroic effort but his 27 points and eight assists were in vain. (AP IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – When the unimposing Cleveland Cavaliers showed up in the second quarter Friday night at Oracle Arena, the Warriors promptly went on vacation.

The result was inviting what might be the ugliest and surely was the most untimely loss of the season.

After taking an early 20-4 lead and going up 32-18 after one quarter, the Warriors were thoroughly outplayed and eventually forced to swallow a sobering 103-94 loss.

And this one is on everybody, from the coaching staff all the way through the roster. Only Klay Thompson, away to attend his grandfather's funeral, missing the first NBA game of his career, is exempt.

If anything, the magnitude of Thompson's contributions was enhanced.

Stephen Curry, celebrating his 26th birthday, made a heroic effort but his 27 points and eight assists were in vain. Draymond Green finished with 18 points, David Lee with 16 and Andre Iguodala 11.

The Warriors (41-26) lost two in a row for the first time in seven weeks. What was worse, though, is that came against Cleveland (26-40), which won for just the second time this month.

Cleveland is the kind of team the Warriors can't afford to lose to in March, at home. The kind of team they have been shredding during the past month. The kind of team their defense usually renders invisible.

Not on this night. Not with the Cavaliers scoring 68 points in the second and third quarters.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: No such thing. The closest would be Curry and Green, on production and effort. Green added nine rebounds to his scoring output.

TURNING POINT: After a Curry jumper gave the Warriors a 64-62 lead with 4:58 left in the third quarter, the Cavaliers went on a 22-7 run to close the quarter with an 84-71 lead.

Cleveland took advantage of some atrocious Warriors play at both ends of the court, including six turnovers and 5-for-14 shooting in the quarter. The Cavs shot 56.5 percent (13 of 23) in the quarter.

ROSTER NOTE: Thompson (grandfather's funeral) missed the game but likely will rejoin the team on Sunday.

INJURY REPORT: C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) is participating in non-contract drills but remains out indefinitely.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors leave immediately after practice Saturday afternoon for their first trip this season to Portland, where on Sunday night the face the Trail Blazers. The teams split two games, both in Oakland. The Warriors, for the second time on franchise history, swept the Blazers (4-0) last season.

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