OAKLAND, Calif. – Even when all those long-range shots aren’t falling like usual, the defending champion Golden State Warriors showed they are quite comfortable grinding out wins.
Draymond Green had 22 points and 15 rebounds and the Warriors got defensive in their NBA Finals rematch against Cleveland, beating the Cavaliers 89-83 on Friday.
“It’s good to have one of those every so often,” guard Stephen Curry said. “If our defense shows up, we’re in pretty good shape to win games. We just show our versatility and try to win different ways.”
Curry added 19 points, Klay Thompson had 18, and the Warriors improved to 28-1 by winning their 32nd straight regular-season home game. Instead of doing it with three-pointers, defending champion Golden State maintained its edge over Cleveland by limiting the Cavaliers to 32 percent shooting.
The Warriors were held to fewer than 100 points at home for the first time in more than a year in the regular season. It happened five times in the playoffs.
“It’s good to practice and get experience in that type of game as well where it’s low scoring, getting stops, knocking down free throws and executing in the half court,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “It’s great experience for us.”
LeBron James scored 25 points to lead the Cavaliers. Their six-game winning streak ended.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” James said. “If we play like that defensively, we’re going to be a very tough team to beat. Offensively, we just didn’t have it. No one had it.”
Curry shot a pair of layups around J.R. Smith’s three-pointer to make it 85-80 with 57.6 seconds to play.
James shot an air ball on a three-pointer with 12.7 seconds left, ending Cleveland’s comeback attempt.
“Tonight our defense was absolutely unbelievable for all 48 minutes,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said. “To keep them to the 80s, they never really got in a flow where they could really attack us.”