Warriors 119, Cavaliers 102
James went 4-for-12 from the field in the first half and finished 8-for-21 with 29 points, six rebounds and six assists. He put on a show after halftime.
The 19-year-old rookie had a sensational one-handed dunk with his left hand late in the third quarter and another impressive slam early in the fourth.
With 7:12 left, he was fouled trying to dunk and fell hard into the basket support. He hopped up immediately, wearing a big smile.
“He’s not playing like a 19-year-old, he’s playing like a 19-year vet,” teammate Darius Miles said.
But James’ big night wasn’t enough to help the Cavs improve their dismal road record. They are 3-19 away from Gund Arena and were trying to better their road victories total from last season (3-38).
“I don’t want to say we were lax,” James said. “I just don’t think we could stop them. We have a tough time against Cliff Robinson because our big men aren’t used to forwards who can stand out there and shoot the 3.”
“It’s good to have a game like this,” Richardson said. “We needed a win. We were struggling. This is one of those games we got our confidence back.”
The Warriors had only 10 players available, including center Adonal Foyle, who was activated from the injured list earlier in the day. Coach Eric Musselman didn’t want to use Foyle, but sent him in at the 8:42 mark of the second quarter. Foyle received a nice ovation from many of the 19,602 fans when he checked in, but limped as he ran up and down the court and played only 4 minutes.
Robinson felt it was his job to pick up the slack.
“I was just looking for my shot,” said Robinson, who was 7-for-8 from 3-point range. “I’ve been looking to be more aggressive and trying to make plays instead of sitting back and waiting for guys to pass out to me for a spot-up jumper. I’ve taken a more proactive role in making something happen.”
Eric Williams added 21 points for the Cavs, who played their fifth game of a season-long six-game road trip.
Speedy Claxton, playing in place of Van Exel, had 11 points, seven rebounds and tied a career high with 11 assists.
Richardson scored five straight during a 12-6 Warriors’ spurt in the third quarter as they built a 72-61 lead. Golden State, which won its third straight at home against Cleveland, hit big shots down the stretch.
Robinson made three of his 3s, including two in a row, late in the game. The Warriors were 10-of-13 from long range.
Cleveland made only 10 of its first 27 shots in the first quarter, when both teams went to the free throw line 10 times. The Warriors led 60-55 at halftime behind 50 percent shooting.
Golden State sold out for the third time this season.
Robinson tied a franchise best for 3s in a game with Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway.
“The last couple home games he’s shooting the heck out of it,” Musselman said of Robinson. “He’s got a lot of confidence and knows he’s got the greenlight.”
Van Exel missed seven games earlier in the season because of injury. He had surgery on his left knee Nov. 20 and sat out the first three games of the season. Later, he was sidelined again with knee pain. Foyle originally went on the injured list Dec. 16 and has missed 34 games. He had surgery on his left knee Nov. 6. Foyle played briefly against Philadelphia on Nov. 1 before his setback. … Musselman is happy to see Lenny Wilkens back in the league as New York’s new coach. “It’s great to have a Hall of Fame coach because it gives credibility to the league,” Musselman said. “It’s hard to find a better coach for the job.” … The Cavaliers activated F Ira Newble, placed G J.R. Bremer on the injured list and waived C Bruno Sundov. … Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Keyshawn Johnson attended the game and so did former 49ers greatRonnie Lott and actor Delroy Lindo.