Game 5: Cavs at Warriors
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (3-2) 106, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (2-3) 96
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs were playing without their two centers, Anderson Varejao (sore right knee) and Tyler Zeller (non-displaced fracture of the left orbital cheek bone/concussion).. Zeller returned to Cleveland, which put the rest of the road trip in jeopardy for him.
Varejao might be able to play in Phoenix on Friday. However, there's no official word.
He is among the league leaders in rebounding with 15 per game. What can't be replicated is his hustle, aggressiveness and determination. They have no one on the roster who can match that.
Without those two near 7-footers, their post defense suffered measurably in the loss to the Warriors. That and forward Carl Landry just scored at will the entire game for 19 points.
Rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters came back to earth on Wednesday with 12 points. That included a late 3-pointer. He was just 2 of 5 from behind the arc. That doesn't compare to his 7-for-11 performance from the 3-point line on Monday en route to 28 points.
Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 28 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Tristan Thompson, who made his first start this season at center, had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Samardo Samuels, who started at power forward, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
The defensive effort just wasn't there, as evidenced by the Warriors shooting 53.8 percent from the field. The Cavs shot just 41.9.
The Cavs might be able to get by without Zeller, even though he was starting to come into his own. But if Varejao doesn't play, they have little chance at winning. They just don't have enough legitimate bigs. This team should really look at adding a 7-footer.
The Cavs are now 1-2 on this six-game, 11-day road trip.
The Cavs got their first look at Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes, whom many thought the Cavs should have drafted instead of Waiters. Barnes had a career-high 14 points on Wednesday.
It turns out the Cavs didn't appear to be very high on him in the draft. They believe they got the better player in Waiters.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Phoenix to face the Suns at 9 p.m. Friday at US Airways Center.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Harrison Barnes (6-8, 210)
PF Samardo Samuels (6-9, 260) vs. David Lee (6-9, 240)
C Tristan Thompson (6-9, 235) vs. Andrew Bogut (7-0, 260)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Klay Thompson (6-7, 205)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Stephen Curry (6-3, 185)
Cavs – C Tyler Zeller, F.C Anderson Varejao
Warriors - G/F Kent Bazemore, G Brandon Rush
Tom Washington, Mark Ayotte, Eric Lewis