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Cavs roller-coaster continues with win over Warriors

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When it was suggested to the Cleveland Cavaliers' Mike Brown following Friday's 103-94 win over the Golden State Warriors that his team's up-and-down season made no sense, the veteran coach had a simple -- yet brutally honest -- response.

"I agree."

The Cavaliers added another unpredictable chapter to their wild 2013-14 story, using a 68-39 dominance in the middle two quarters to erase what was once a 20-4 deficit en route to a win over a team it hadn't beaten in four-plus years.

"I feel like they're growing," Brown said of the Cavaliers (26-40), who began their three-game Western swing Wednesday night with an equally surprising win at Phoenix.

"But anytime you grow," Brown continued, "you're going to take a step back here and there, and that's the part that's hard to figure out. That's the time I wish I had some hair to pull out of my head."

In-season acquisition center Spencer Hawes had a 22-point, 13-rebound double-double as the Cavaliers won for the sixth time in their last eight games against Western Conference clubs and moved within 3 1/2 games of the final playoff spot in the East.

The Cavaliers go for a Western triple when they close the trip in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Sunday night.

"We came out on this road trip to win them all," insisted shooting guard Jarrett Jack, who enjoyed a homecoming at the site of his crowd-pleasing 2012-13 season. "We did the hard part winning the first two. We have to try and finish off the job."

What made Part II especially hard was the almost immediate 20-4 deficit against a team that had won its last five home games. The margin had increased to 18, 36-18, in the third minute of the second quarter before the Cavaliers completely turned the tables with a 23-2 flurry.

Backup guards Dion Waiters and Matthew Dellavedova led the charge. Waiters had 10 of Cleveland's 23 points in the comeback, while Dellavedova dropped in a pair of 3-pointers.

"Golden State really hit us in the mouth," Brown observed. "We could have folded. But our second unit (led by Waiters and Dellavedova) did a nice job."

The run ended with the Cavaliers up 41-38, and even though the Warriors managed to regain a 53-52 edge by halftime, the visitors weren't through charging.

Cleveland trailed 64-62 with 4:59 remaining in the third period before catching fire again, outscoring the Warriors 22-7 the rest of the period to go up by 13, 84-71.

Point guard Kyrie Irving, held to three points in the game's first 34 minutes, bombed in a pair of 3-pointers in the run. Jack (six points), small forward Luol Deng (six) and Hawes (four) did the rest of the scoring.

The Warriors got within nine on a 3-pointer by small forward Andre Iguodala with still 3:29 to play, but Waiters countered immediately with a drive to the hoop and Cleveland kept Golden State at arm's length the rest of the way.

"I don't think it's surprising," Hawes said of the 2-0 start to the trip. "We see what we're capable of. We just don't do it consistently."

Waiters backed Hawes with 18 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 48.8 percent from the field overall and 45.5 percent (10 of 22) from 3-point range. Irving and Deng finished with 16 points apiece.

Point guard Stephen Curry poured in 27 points on his 26th birthday for the Warriors, who played without Klay Thompson. The club's starting shooting guard was in the Bahamas attending his grandfather's funeral.

Backup forward Draymond Green had a career-high-tying 18 points and power forward David Lee 16 for the Warriors (41-25), who fell 2 1/2 games behind Portland in the battle for the No. 5 playoff position in the West.

"The back-to-back second and third quarters, giving up 36 and 32 points. That's not our brand of defense, I don't care who you are playing," Warriors coach Mark Jackson observed. "For us, it's a recipe for disaster and it's unacceptable."

The Warriors connected on only 11 of their 29 3-point attempts, including just six of the 19 not taken by Curry, in failing to erase the sting of a 111-98 blowout loss to the Clippers on Wednesday.

"Terrible loss coming off a tough one down in L.A.," insisted Curry. "We've just got to be resilient again and find a way to get one on Sunday (at Portland). That'll be a big game for us."

The Warriors appeared well on their way to a sixth consecutive home victory when they scored 20 of the game's first 24 points. The early run was a team effort, with Lee contributing nine points, Iguodala a pair of 3's, center Andrew Bogut five rebounds and Curry four assists.

But the Cavaliers steadied the ship, playing Golden State evenly for the rest of the period, setting up their midgame dominance.

NOTES: The Cavaliers' last win over the Warriors was on Jan. 10, 2010, after which Golden State ran off six consecutive victories. ... SG Klay Thompson's absence was the first of his NBA career, snapping a 214-game streak that stands as the longest in Warriors history to begin a career. Thompson is expected back for Sunday's game at Portland. ... Warriors backup C Jermaine O'Neal appeared in his 1,000th NBA game, joining just 15 active players to have earned that distinction. O'Neal became the first player ever to play in a 1,000th game as a member of the Warriors. ... Cavaliers SG Jarrett Jack, who contributed nine points and four assists to Friday's win, recorded at least 10 points and five assists off the bench in 32 Warriors games last season. No Golden State backup has a 10/5 game this year.
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