The argument is over, the debate crushed, the hypotheticals buried.
The Warriors staggered into Cleveland on Monday and found their legs, their edge and their game, fashioning a wire-to-wire 132-98 rout of the Cavaliers that silenced the skeptics as well as the sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena.
With Stephen Curry scoring a game-high 35 points against a fully healthy Cavaliers team, the Warriors (38-4) put to rest the chatter that has raged ever since they beat the wounded Cavs in the NBA Finals last June.
Four other Warriors scored in double figures, as Andre Iguodala returned to the place where he picked up a Finals MVP trophy and poured in 20 points in 24 minutes. Draymond Green finished with 16 points, Klay Thompson had 15 and Harrison Barnes added 12.
Coming off an ugly loss last Saturday in Detroit, the Warriors shot 65 percent in the first half and 54.1 percent for the game, scoring more points against Cleveland than any team this season. Curry, Green and Thompson sat out the entire fourth quarter.
The Warriors, who also beat the Cavs last Christmas Day at Oracle Arena, swept Cleveland for the first time since 2012-13. The Warriors led by as much as 43 – the largest deficit ever faced by Cavs star LeBron James, who has played 1,127 games – in handing James his worst defeat ever in a Cavs jersey.
Cleveland guard JR Smith was ejected after being whistled for a flagrant foul 2 after slamming into Harrison Barnes and knocking him to the floor with 10:41 left in the third quarter.
Green was fabulous, but this night belonged to the reigning MVP.
Curry’s line: 35 points (12-of-18 shooting, 7-of-12 from 3-point distance), five rebounds, four assists and three steals. His plus/minus: an astonishing plus-35.
Curry now has scored at least 30 points in 19 games, most in the NBA this season.
Green’s line: 16 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. His plus/minus: plus-36.
The Warriors came out blazing, going up 12-2 a little more than two minutes after tipoff and taking a 34-21 lead after one quarter.
The Cavaliers got no closer than 11 in the second quarter and no closer than 32 after halftime.
Warriors: F James Michael McAdoo (L foot toe sprain) was listed as out and placed on the inactive list.
Cavaliers: No injuries listed and none reported during the game.
The Warriors return to action Wednesday in Chicago, where they face the Bulls at United Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 PST.