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It’s hard to know where to begin with this basketball beatdown in the Bay Area.
If you’re the Cavaliers, you can probably begin by trying to forget about it.
If you’re the Warriors, you can probably begin by remembering what you did right (read: everything) and figuring out how to carry it with you, should the teams meet again.
Of course, if you’re the Warriors, you’ll have to listen to the talk that your 126-91 ambush Monday meant nothing. Not unless you can do something similar four times in June.
Certainly, much of that is true. Until someone manages to prove otherwise when it means the most, the Cavaliers remain the defending champions, LeBron James the reigning Finals MVP.
(The award was unfairly stolen from James the season before, when he averaged 34 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in six games. But the Warriors won the title, so it somehow went to Andre Iguodala, the very man who failed to slow James.)
Anyway, the point is that the Warriors will need to figure out a way to slow down James and Kyrie Irving when it means the most — assuming both teams get to that meaningful series again.
The Warriors can tell themselves that, for one night, they contained the Cavs’ terrible twosome. And that should give the Warriors plenty of hope.
James finished with 20 points, Irving 17. But they went a combined 12-of-38 shooting, with a combined 12 turnovers (six apiece) and a measly four assists (two apiece). That’s no way for your stars to behave.
Not on the road, not against the team with the league’s best record. Certainly not against a team that was out for your blood.
The third member of the Cavs’ Big Three, Kevin Love, rested the second half with lower back soreness. He should be fine for Thursday’s home game vs. Phoenix.
The Warriors raced to a 7-0 lead and were barely ever threatened. Right or wrong, they always take the regular season very seriously. Right or wrong, the same cannot always be said of the Cavaliers.
The NBA did them no favors, making this the final stop on a six-game trip, most of which took place far from home. Meanwhile, the Warriors had three days off.
But the Cavs are champions, and they understand this is a business with no excuses and a very obvious bottom line. They just didn’t act like they knew those things Monday.
They stood around at both ends, as fill-in shooting guard Iman Shumpert and maybe Tristan Thompson were the only ones who played like they were willing to do whatever it took.
Unless, of course, you count the Warriors.
Sometimes to a fault, they treat the regular season like Game 7 of the finals. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and especially coach Steve Kerr want blowout wins, and lots of them. They’ve weakened their bench from last season, but added Kevin Durant, and like last year, they can look downright invincible.
Will that last until June? Will it result in a championship?
The Warriors admit they don’t even know. But they did make a statement Monday. The Cavs can’t take that away from them until June.
And if it comes to that, the Cavs had best be like they were last year. They had best be ready. They weren’t Monday, and just look at what happened.