Posted on January 16, 2018, by Travis Pulver

Even casual NBA fans are aware that the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers have been struggling pretty bad of late. But Monday night, they had a chance to make a statement. They had a chance to score a big win over the defending champions. They had a chance to remind the NBA-loving free world that they are one of the best teams in the league.

They nearly succeeded– but then Kevin Durant and the Warriors decided enough was enough.

Via @ESPNStatsInfo

Cleveland got out to a hot start with LeBron James scoring 16 points in the opening quarter and Kevin Love chipping in ten. However, Kevin Durant (eight points) and Klay Thompson (13 points) had good quarters as well. But it was Cleveland that came out ahead, 37-35.

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The Cavaliers kept it rolling in the second quarter, and when halftime rolled around, they had a seven-point lead, 64-57.

But Golden State came out hot in the second half, erased the deficit, and took the lead after Kevin Durant hit a pair of free throws with 7:26 to go in the quarter. The Warriors stretched their lead out to six-points late in the quarter after Kevin Durant hit a 29-foot three-pointer.

A small burst by the Cavs cut the deficit to two, 93-91 heading into the fourth quarter—which is when things got out of hand.

A 20-6 run by the Warriors put Cleveland behind by double digits. The Cavs missed 17 of 23 shots in the period and went on to lose by ten, 118-108.

Kevin Durant led the way for the Warriors with 32 points, 16 of which came in the third quarter. Steph Curry added another 23, and Klay Thompson chipped in 17.

Like Durant, LeBron James scored 32 points. Isaiah Thomas had no trouble finding the basket, but struggled to make shots (8-21; 1-7 from three-point range) but still chipped in 19-points.

The win gave the Warriors the season sweep of the Cavaliers. It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Cavaliers and eight of their last ten. Golden State hasn’t lost on the road since November 22.

“At home, we just relax a little bit,” Durant said. “This is who we are when we’re on the road.”

The Aftermath

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue knows how his team has been playing, but that didn’t stop him from making a bold statement prior to Monday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors. He said that his team is the best one in the Eastern Conference (ESPN):

“Because we’ve got the best player in the world.”

Having LeBron James is great, but one player does not make the team let alone make the team the best in the conference. Perhaps once Isaiah Thomas gets his feet under him, the offense will get a boost. But Thomas will not bring much on the defensive end of the court.

Golden State will try to make it four in a row when they play the Bulls in Chicago Wednesday night. Cleveland will once again try to right the ship once again Thursday night when they take on the Orlando Magic.

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