CLEVELAND (AP) — The shots splashed through the net like they almost always do for the Golden State Warriors.
However, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson didn’t launch any.
Jordan Poole scored 32 points, Ty Jerome added 22 and the Warriors dropped 23 3-pointers while Curry and three other starters sat on the bench in a 120-114 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
Poole (5) and Jerome (3) combined for eight 3-pointers as the defending NBA champs ended a five-game trip with an improbable win.
“We kind of hung on for dear life down the stretch, but got it done,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It was just one of those nights. You play 82 games, so you know you’re going to have a few of these.”
Following Golden State’s stinging three-point overtime loss Thursday night in Boston, Kerr rested Curry along with fellow first-teamers Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.
It didn’t matter. Even with their top players on the bench in street clothes, the short-handed Warriors came out firing and barely slowed down.
“The biggest thing is, even without our guys, we expect to win,” said Jerome, who is on a two-way contract with Golden State and Santa Cruz. “Everyone that played was good tonight and that’s awesome for us.”
Darius Garland scored 31 points to lead the Cavs, who were without star Donovan Mitchell because of a strained groin and suffered their most embarrassing loss this season. Caris LeVert added 22 points and Evan Mobley 17 for Cleveland.
Afterward, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff didn’t mince words in describing his team’s dismal performance.
“We didn’t respect the game. It’s that simple,” he said. “They’ve got champions over there, and we thought some of those guys were out so we were going to take it lightly and we got what we deserved.”
Golden State made a season-high 14 3-pointers in the first half — tying the most ever by a Cavs opponent for a half — to take a 64-59 halftime lead.
Although Bickerstaff stressed limiting Golden State’s outside attack at halftime, his team didn’t get the message as the Warriors made five 3s in the first five minutes to open a 20-point lead.
The Cavs, who have 11 comeback wins when trailing by double digits, fought back and pulled within 114-110. But Jerome dropped the Warriors’ final 3-pointer with 1:39 left.
“They’re good basketball players, and if you’re going to disrespect them, they’re going to make you pay,” Bickerstaff said. “We came out of the gate soft and disrespectful and they were out there shooting warmup shots with no contest, no challenges, nobody in their space and they gave us what we deserved.”
Kerr has an emotional attachment to Cleveland.
He played in the city from 1989-92 and his oldest son was born here. It’s also where he won NBA titles as a coach in 2015 and 2018 as the Warriors and Cavs met four straight times in the finals.
“This building will always be special for us,” he said. “Just coming in here, feeling the vibe, feeling the juice from those days. They were incredible games. Just an amazing rivalry, two great teams. The level of play was just so high. I will always think of those Finals when I come in here.”
Warriors: Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points and Kevin Looney had 17 rebounds. … Golden State opened 7 of 8 on 3-pointers. … The 23-year-old Poole reached 500 career 3-pointers, surpassing Thompson as the youngest player in team history to reach the plateau. … F Jonathan Kuminga (right foot sprain) returned after missing eight games and scored 10. F JaMychal Green (right lower leg infection) saw his first action in 15 games and had 13 points.
Cavaliers: G Ricky Rubio got the night off as part of the maintenance plan for him after returning from knee surgery. He’s averaging 5.3 points and 13.1 minutes in four games back. … Mobley is one of three players averaging 14.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocked shots while shooting better than 50.0% from the field. 76ers C Joel Embiid and Lakers C Anthony Davis are the others. … Cavs assistant coach Luke Walton went 39-4 as Golden State’s acting head coach in 2015-2016 while Kerr recovered from back surgery.
Warriors: Host Brooklyn on Sunday.
Cavaliers: Host Milwaukee on Saturday night.
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