Durant out-duels LeBron as Warriors sweep season series with Cavs

Jan 3 2018 Milwaukee WI USA Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis works for a shot as Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson defends during the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In this recent matchup, they actually outscored the Warriors by 16 in the paint, and Tristan Thompson was actually one of the team's most effective players, securing four offensive rebounds in 15 minutes.

For Cleveland to hold its own against a team of Golden State's calibre you know it requires a monster night from James.

Lue: "Because we've got the best player in the world".

The Cavaliers (26-16), who lost 99-133 at Toronto on Thursday, led by 22 after the first quarter on Friday yet still fell to 0-3 against the Pacers this season. It's going to take a little longer to get to where we need to be.

LeBron James and Cleveland had gone into the game at the Quicken Loans Arena determined to halt a three-game losing streak by beating the Warriors, who they have faced in the last three editions of the NBA Finals. He was better in the second, leading the third quarter charge before nailing a late three-pointer in the fourth quarter.

"My body feels good", Thomas said. I'm excited about the opportunity to get back to playing again after getting a few days off and also trying to figure out how to get a win. I have no legs. "I've got to work my way back and get my legs back and get my legs back to playing at a high level". "So I've just got to keep pushing, keep working and it'll come back". But there's no easy, quick fix for the Cavs. Cleveland is the 29th worst defense and the oldest team in the National Basketball Association.

Some of that can be fixed by effort.

Cleveland had shooting issues with guys not named LeBron. The Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 80.7 percent from the free throw line.

Not that they see things that way. To match the Cavaliers' versatile, up-tempo lineup, head coach Steve Kerr replaced Zaza Pachulia with Bell, who is a prototypical small-ball center who can guard all five positions. Not a bad answer.

Schroder hit a pull-up jumper and then followed it with a hard, high-arching left-handed layup to help the Hawks beat the Spurs for only the second time in the last 15 meetings.

If, however, the Celtics make a statement over this next stretch, it will take a lot of fluctuation to threaten their home court advantage.

The New York Knicks bounced back from defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday with a 119-104 win over local rivals the Brooklyn Nets.

DeAndre Jordan is obviously on the table, but would that even be enough?

"I haven't played him much lately, and that's a tough spot to be in as a rookie", Kerr said. These additions were made because of the peculiar departure of Kyrie Irving.

Cleveland's best chances at improvement are internal.

Thomas started the last three games he played and is expected to start against the Warriors. Those floundering role players may step up and provide a lift. Cavs are fade material until further notice. Because of the presence of James alone, it may not matter. The Warriors are now regarded as the 11/20 to win their third crown in four years and the Cavaliers are the justified second favourites at 5/1, but the Rockets are still value for money at the 8/1 which is now on offer.

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