Lee’s 29 lifts Warriors over CavsBy TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012
CLEVELAND (AP)—Monta Ellis’ jersey was splattered with blood and his nose was cut and swollen.
Golden State’s second straight road win wasn’t painless.
Lee scored seven straight points midway through the final period to help the Warriors pull away from the Cavs, who looked spent after playing seven straight road games and committed a season-high 25 turnovers.
After losing their first four road games, the Warriors, who got only 10 points from a cold-shooting Eliis, have won two straight away from home for the first time since 2010—an encouraging sign for first-year coach Mark Jackson.
“That’s what good teams do,” Jackson said. “Despite the adversity, find a way to get it done. Our guys did exactly that. When you compete and defend, you’ll win your share of games in this league.”
Ellis was only 2 of 12 from the floor, but Lee and the other Warriors picked up the scoring slack. Ellis got bloodied in the final minute by Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao, who accidentally nailed Golden State’s leading scorer in the face with an elbow.
“He’s an absolute gamer,” Jackson said. “He didn’t have a great night offensively, but still battled. He put his face in there, no pun intended, to make a play. That’s what winners do.”
Ellis was checked by Cleveland’s team doctors. He said his nose wasn’t broken.
“It wasn’t my night,” Ellis said. “It was David Lee’s night. We needed someone to step up. He can do that every night.”
Antawn Jamison scored 19 and rookie Kyrie Irving had 18 for Cleveland, which has only played four home games. The Cavaliers were sloppy at both ends of the floor, showing fatigue after being on the road for two weeks.
“It was just carelessness,” said Irving, who had eight rebounds and five assists but six turnovers. “But we’re going to continue to get better. Turnovers happened at the wrong times. It was turnover, turnover, turnover.”
Robinson added 10 assists, Andris Biedrins had 11 rebounds and Brandon Rush and rookie Klay Thompson added 14 points apiece for the Warriors. Thompson made all four 3-pointers and Golden State connected on nine 3s.
Golden State trailed 87-85 early in the fourth when Lee went to work.
The 6-foot-9 forward scored on a pair of layups, dropped a free throw and then drilled a short jumper from the wing to put Golden State ahead 92-87 with 5:54 left.
“Coach kept calling my number,” Lee said. “I wanted to be aggressive. I was able to get some good looks and take advantage of what we were running.”
Cleveland was only down by five, but it seemed like 15.
The Cavs looked tired, mentally and physically, from their cross country trip. Cleveland played at Charlotte on Monday and dropped to 0-3 this season in back-to-back games. However, Cavs coach Byron Scott refused to blame tiredness.
“I don’t buy that,” he said. “It was Golden State’s fourth game in five nights. So that’s a bunch of bull. That’s an excuse and that’s something we’re not going to tolerate. We lost the game because we were terrible on the offensive end as far as turning the ball over. Period.”
Irving made two free throws to get the Cavs to 96-93, but Ellis hit a free throw, and after Irving missed a jumper, Lee’s bucket made it 99-93 and Cleveland never got closer. The Warriors closed with a 20-8 run, with Lee scoring 13.
In the final minute, Ellis was playing defense on the left side when he was nailed by Varejao’s arm and dropped to the floor. As he was being attended by Golden State’s trainers, Robinson had a few words for Varejao, who tried to explain he didn’t mean anything.
The Warriors were again without guard Stephen Curry, who missed his seventh straight game with a sprained right ankle. Golden State is 3-4 without its third-leading scorer.
Notes: Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert turned 50 Tuesday and gave himself an indoor football team as a present. Gilbert bought the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena League for an undisclosed sum, adding to a sports portfolio that includes the Cavs, Canton Charge of the NBA’s Development League and the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League. … Jackson said Curry’s ankle has improved and the guard is moving toward a return to the floor. “He’s getting closer,” Jackson said. … Cavs backup C Semih Erden matched a career-high with 14 points. He scored just 11 combined in his first five games. … Cavs G Anthony Parker didn’t play because of a sore lower back.