Curry leads Warriors past Cavs in faux rematch
CLEVELAND — Their fierce rivalry is over, reduced to only memories.
The Warriors and Cavaliers had something special, four straight NBA Finals that Steph Curry will one day savor. Some day.
“It was historical,” Curry said. “I’ll definitely sit back on the couch in 10 or 12 years when it’s all over and think about what it was like to play here, and how high the stakes were every time we came into this building.”
Right now, Curry and the Warriors aren’t ready to reminisce.
Curry made nine 3pointers and scored 42 points, Kevin Durant added 25 and Golden State returned to face a very different looking Cleveland team for the first time since winning another NBA title and beat the Cavaliers 129-105 on Wednesday night.
Fully healed after missing 11 games with a strained groin, Curry scored nine points in less than a minute midway through the fourth quarter to help the Warriors pull away for their eighth straight win over their former Finals rivals. Curry added nine rebounds and seven assists, and Durant had 10 rebounds and nine assists.
It was Golden State’s first visit to Cleveland since June, when the Warriors completed a sweep to win their third championship in four years.
Nothing in Quicken Loans Arena felt or looked the same.
“The energy before the game, after the game,” Durant said, noting the changes in Cleveland. “There were more media members here the last couple of years. We were talking about that before we ran out on the floor. That was a circus right here during the Finals. You start thinking about the great memories you had, especially the championship.
“I’m sure we’ll feel those feelings every time we walk into the building.”
This was the first matchup between the Warriors and Cavaliers since LeBron James left as a free agent last summer. The Cavs are starting from scratch after a four-year run as Eastern Conference champions, and they’re struggling without AllStar Kevin Love, who is recovering from foot surgery and while forward J.R. Smith is on a forced hiatus.