Robinson, Green lead Warriors past Cavaliers, 131-112
STEVE HERRICK Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Golden State Warriors have the worst record in the NBA, but Steve Kerr hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
The Warriors coach grew accustomed to dealing with a media throng when Golden State played NBA Finals games in Cleveland every season from 2015-18.
Kerr couldn’t resist making a joke when he saw the number of reporters jammed into a small interview room Saturday night before a 131-112 victory over the Cavaliers.
“Still here?” he said with a laugh. “LeBron’s not walking through that door. Kevin Durant’s not walking through that door. Why is everybody here?”
Kerr had plenty to smile about during the game as the Warriors recorded their biggest margin of victory this season. Glenn Robinson III scored 22 points, Draymond Green tied a career high with 16 assists and the Warriors dominated the second half night in a matchup between teams at the bottom of the NBA standings.
While the Warriors enjoyed a rare victory, Cavaliers coach John Beilein was clearly frustrated. Cleveland has lost 10 straight at home and 15 of 18 overall. Beilein said he asked a member of the team’s media relations staff if he had to attend his customary postgame press conference.
“He said, yeah I do,” Beilein said in comments that drew laughter from reporters. “I asked him if I could plead the Fifth and how that no witnesses could be called to this game. That tells you a little bit how I feel.”
Golden State (11-39) has the NBA’s worst record while Cleveland (13-37) has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
The matchup bore little resemblance to when the teams met in the NBA Finals four straight years. The Warriors won three times while the Cavaliers broke the city’s 52-year championship drought in 2016.
Injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are a major reason the Warriors have had such a difficult season. Golden State hit 18 3-pointers, including a team-record 10 in the third quarter when it took control.
“Who needs the Splash Brothers?” Green said with a laugh. “That’s kind of a slap in the face (to them). That’s nuts. There are a lot of numbers that don’t make sense and that’s one of them. I can have some fun with Steph about that.”
The Warriors trailed 59-52 late in the second quarter, but went on a 53-19 run to take a 105-79 lead going into the fourth. Golden State scored 17 consecutive points — its biggest run of the season — to begin the game-changing spurt.
The Warriors outscored Cleveland 44-19 in the third, causing Beilein to send his starters to the bench.
Green played 26 minutes and scored eight points. The Warriors had seven players in double figures, including D’Angelo Russell with 19 and Damion Lee with 18.
Collin Sexton scored 23 points while Kevin Love had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.
Curry, who broke his hand in the fourth game of the season, could return in March. Curry was injured Oct. 30 and had surgery two days later. Thompson had knee surgery after being injured in last season’s Finals
Warriors: F Kevon Looney (abdominal soreness) returned after missing 18 games. He scored two points in 12 minutes.
Cavaliers: Kevin Porter Jr. scored 19 points while Darius Garland had 15. … Love played in his 700th career game.
THEY DON’T LIKE HIM HERE
Green, who gets booed in every trip to town, heard it again throughout the game.
“To come back here and they still boo me, I love that,” he said. “It does kind of take you back to all the big games. It does kind of take you back to when those boos were deserved. That was good. That was exciting.”
Beilein went up against Green several times while coaching at the University of Michigan.
“What power forward goes out and gets 16 assists like that, and that’s what he does,” Beilein said. “I thought I had enough of him at Michigan State and he’s still giving it to me now.”
Golden State broke a five-game losing streak and a stretch of 10 in a row on the road. The Cavaliers haven’t won at home since beating Atlanta on Dec. 23.
The game had 11 lead changes and was tied seven times in the first half. The Warriors scored the final nine points and took a 61-59 lead on Lee’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Warriors: Visit Washington on Monday. It will be the fourth stop on a five-game trip.
Cavaliers: Host New York on Monday. The Knicks are 2-1 against Cleveland this season.