What we learned as scrappy, short-handed Dubs stun Cavs


The short-handed Warriors earned their most complete team win in improbable fashion Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-114.

Missing Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors needed a plethora of players to step up. That's exactly what happened in Cleveland, too. Jordan Poole was the only starter from a night before available for Golden State, and he carried them much of the way. 

Poole led the Warriors with 32 points and five 3-pointers. He now has scored at least 30 points nine times this season and 20 times in his career. This wasn't a one-man show, though. 

Two-way player Ty Jerome went from being inactive against the Boston Celtics to starting one day later. His response couldn't have been better, as he scored a season-high 22 points and dished a team-high eight assists. 

Jonathan Kuminga and JaMychal Green both returned and made major impacts. Kuminga started in his first game in 2023 after missing eight straight games with a sprained right foot. Kuminga stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and one steal, and Green gave the Warriors big minutes off the bench.

Nine Warriors played and nine Warriors scored. Strength in Numbers was back in Cleveland. The Warriors got their first road win over a team with a winning record this season, and end their five-game road trip with three wins and two losses.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors improving to 23-23 on the season, and 6-18 on the road.

Raining in Cleveland

A game without the Splash Brothers and Wiggins has to result in a tough night from beyond the arc. Right? Think again.

The Warriors absolutely lit it up from downtown, starting with Poole catching fire. He made his first three 3-pointers, including a milestone. Poole, 23, became the youngest Warrior to make 500 career 3-pointers, and the third-fastest to do so in franchise history. 

Nine Warriors saw the floor, and eight made a 3-pointer. Center Kevon Looney, who hasn't attempted one three all season, was the only player who didn't hit a triple.

While Poole was the star of the night with five 3-pointers, multiple contributions came from the bench. Four bench players combined to go 10-for-18 from deep. The Warriors went 23-for-43 (53.5 percent) on 3-pointers, six threes from tying the single-game NBA record.
Golden State now has tied an NBA record by making at least 15 threes in 11 straight games.

JMG Makes Presence Felt

JaMychal Green has been waiting and waiting and waiting some more for this moment. First sidelined to a non-COVID illness and then a lower right leg infection that briefly hospitalized him, Green missed 14 straight games. Friday night was his first game action since Dec. 18, 2022. And he didn't wait to make his presence felt. 

The veteran big man was knocking down shots from deep, putting his body on the line for rebounds and setting hard screens. That's what the Warriors expected from Green when they signed him in the offseason, and that's what they got in his return from a months-long absence.

Green gave the Warriors 16 minutes and scored 13 points off the bench, his second-most this season. He made three 3-pointers, which tied his season high, and had eight rebounds. Four of those were offensive, and the Warriors had 14 offensive rebounds on the night. 

At 32 years old with years of experience in the NBA, the Warriors don't need Green to be a star. They need him to bring toughness, crash the glass and make open 3-pointers. His role was fulfilled in his return.

Respect For Looney

The Warriors have played 46 games this season, and two players have been on the floor for every single one: Poole and Looney.

Golden State's last two games are Example A of why Looney is the ultimate pro and has so much respect within the locker room. 

Steve Kerr decided to go small Thursday night against the Boston Celtics by inserting Poole for Looney in the starting lineup. It was the first time all season that Looney came off the bench. He responded by grabbing 12 rebounds and his plus/minus (plus-3) was second to only Curry's plus-9. With the Warriors down four starters in Cleveland, Looney was back in the starting lineup and back to stacking winning plays.

By halftime, Looney was the lone Warrior held scoreless, yet he was a team-high plus-7 with nine rebounds -- six on offense -- three assists and one steal.

Looney played 31 minutes Friday night and finished with 17 rebounds. That's good for his second-most this season, and tied for the third-most of his career. He was a plus-10, making the right plays over and over again.

RELATED: Even in loss to Celtics, Warriors prove they have spirit to defend title

Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Draymond all are expected to be back for Sunday night's game at Chase Center against the Brooklyn Nets. That likely will push Looney back to the bench. Either way, he'll know his role and prove to be Mr. Reliable once more.

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