Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden States Warriors toppled as early season struggles continue
New York Knicks end 10-game losing streak against Cavs while Detroit Pistons see off the NBA champions in Oakland
The NBA champion Golden State Warriors and beaten finalists Cleveland tumbled again as the early season struggles continued for the league’s powerhouse teams.
Tim Hardaway Jnr and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 66 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 114-95 victory over the Cavs in Cleveland.
In Oakland, California, the Warriors coughed up 25 turnovers in a 115-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks notched their first win over the Cavs since October 30, 2014, ending a 10-game losing streak against the Cavs, tipped before the season to be headed to the finals for a fourth time.
Hardaway scored 34 points and Porzingis added 32 with 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who handed LeBron James and the Cavaliers a fourth defeat in eight days.
“Tonight’s loss and the last couple are unacceptable, and the only way we’re going to be able to get out of it is to put the work in – as players, as coaches,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “And we’re going to do that.”
A day after falling to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Cavaliers looked lethargic as they trailed by 18 points in the third quarter.
They trimmed the deficit to 94-88 on a James lay-up with 8:20 to play before the Knicks regained control.
Kevin Love again led Cleveland with 22 points and 11 rebounds. James added 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and said it’s too early in the season to worry.
“What is this? October? I’m not about to go crazy over it right now,” James said.
While the Cavs have struggled with slow starts, the Warriors have been finding it hard to hold onto leads.
Golden State squandered a 14-point third-quarter advantage over Detroit, who shot just 46.2 per cent from the field but benefited from the Warriors’ sloppy play.
The Warriors connected on a blistering 61.4 per cent of their shots over the first three periods, but trailed 101-88 at 6:25 of the fourth quarter.
The Warriors were down 108-105 with 1:55 to play when they got a steal from Stephen Curry. But he missed the contested lay-up and then a three-point attempt.
Tobias Harris added a three-pointer for Detroit, before Curry lost the ball to Avery Bradley, whose lay-up sealed it for the Pistons.
“At some point, the ball just has to matter,” said exasperated Golden State coach Steve Kerr. “We are throwing the ball all over the place. It’s focus and execution.
“Teams are coming after us every single night, and we know that. We are getting everybody’s best shot, and if you don’t match that type of energy and play with some intelligence and some discipline, you are not going to win.”
Perennial Western Conference contenders San Antonio also fell as Indiana’s Victor Oladipo drained the game-winning three-pointer with 10.3 seconds remaining in a 97-94 win over the Spurs.