(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
By Huey Bergstrom
(CLEVELAND) The Warriors beat the Cavaliers Thursday night 119-101 with some huge minutes from the bench, after the team started cold, extending their win streak to a season high of four games.
Curry was the leading scorer with 33 points but a crucial 20 points came from reserve Juan Toscano-Anderson when the game's outcome was still unclear.
As a team, the Warriors shot well at 51.5% and even outrebounded the oversized Cavs 47-39. As they've done in their previous three wins, they were able to play defense solidly without fouling with limited turnovers. Those two factors, combined with solid bench production, gives the Warriors an entirely different feel as a team.
When they're able to play defense without fouling they often force turnovers, run the floor and get some easy buckets. That translates to better production on the offensive end and a bit more confidence when pulling up for a jumper.
As all great coaches have said, it starts with defense. Over the past four wins, the Warriors have taken that to heart, locking down opposing teams and forcing them under or right around a hundred points most nights. On true shootout nights they're able to get the stops when it counts without fouling, which could be a huge factor in a potential play-in game or playoff series.
The Dubs started very slow, missing their first five threes and trailed by 11 at one point in the first quarter, but a dunk by Draymond Green really set things off.
Notably, the Warriors were held close in their early slump by eight big points off the bench by the star of the night, Juan Toscano-Anderson. He's been getting more minutes over the last month and it's paying off. Initially thought to be just a defensive stopper, Toscano-Anderson has shown he could be closer to a Shaun Livinston type when he gets the playing time.
He's oversized similar to Livingston, he can run the break as well as Livingston and he can score off the dribble down low in a similar way. While it has yet to be seen if he can really show up when it counts as Livingston did in the 2015 Playoffs and other big games, it's clear that he's a helpful addition to an injury-plagued roster.
Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins lit it up to start the second quarter, scoring a combined 14 points in the first five minutes and pushing the Warrior lead to 11. They didn't let off the gas pedal.
The Warriors didn't let up, holding the Cavs to 21 points in the quarter and going into halftime with that 11 point lead in tact.
Naturally, the Cavs came out strong in the third quarter, rotating much better on defense and knocking down enough shots to pull the lead to four. At that point, the ever-on Steph Curry scored eight straight to push the Dubs to a 10 point lead going into the fourth.
From there, Golden State pushed their lead a bit, with plenty of help from Toscano-Anderson. The win is huge. It puts the Warriors at .500 for the season and in the ninth spot in the Western Conference, giving them a much better shot at a potential playoff spot.
The Dubs will try to push their win streak to five Saturday night against the Celtics.