(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
The headline will be the controversial block shot from Kevin Durant as LeBron James was looking to bring the Cavs within one with 26 seconds remaining. But with team stats consisting of 32% shooting, 14 turnovers, no blocks, and making more three pointers than two pointers (15 to 13 respectively), it's amazing the Cavs still had a chance to win the game until Klay Thompson made his free throws at the end of the game.
This game is not the end of the world for the Cavs. After all, the last two losers of the Cavs/Warriors Christmas game has won the NBA championship that season. But it's clear what the Cavs need to do to beat the defending NBA champs.
The team needs a clear third and maybe fourth scorer from the starting lineup so teams like Golden State won't have to focus their defense on James and Love. Isaiah Thomas should become the third scorer when he is healthy later in the season but either Jae Crowder or JR Smith must become a reliable fourth scorer. Crowder had 15 points tonight but Smith only had 2 points in 31 minutes of play.
But to defeat the Warriors, the Cavs must sign a big man (DeAndre Jordan?) to defend the paint. It's an area in which the Cavs have struggled with against the Warriors. But as the score tonight showed, the Cavs are not that far away from getting over the hump against the Warriors, so we will see the steps the Cavs will take to take down the Warriors in June.
Cavs will host the Warriors in three weeks on Martin Luther King Jr Day.