OAKLAND -- In their quest to secure homecourt advantage throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Warriors reduced their magic number to one Friday night.
With five players scoring in double figures, they hung on for a 120-114 victory over the game but ultimately overmatched Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors (55-24) committed enough turnovers (13), especially of the live-ball variety (giving the Cavs 23 points) to provide a measure of suspense in the fourth quarter.
Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors were just sloppy enough, with just enough defensive lapses to melt away most of what had been a 21-point lead:
Curry crushes the Cavs
Cleveland rookie point guard Collin Sexton is having a terrific second half and has been getting a lot of publicity, so maybe Stephen Curry wanted to properly re-introduce the kid to the NBA.
Curry simply unloaded, scoring a game-high 40 points on 12-of-21 shooting, including 9-of-12 from deep. It didn’t matter which defender was responsible -- though he was Sexton’s primary assignment -- Curry punished them all.
Sexton had a fine game (25 points), but it wasn’t enough as Curry -- after subpar shooting (3-of-14, 1-of-9 from deep) Thursday night against the Lakers -- reverted to his recent form. He entered the game shooting just below 43 percent from deep since the March 1.
Moreover, his recent numbers at Oracle Arena have been absurd. He’s 29-of-52 (55.8 percent) from beyond the arc over his last five home games.
For Curry, who moved into third place on the franchise career scoring list (16,280 points), it’s not just the contact lenses.
Splashing up a storm
Is there a way to preserve fantastic 3-point shooting? Can it be frozen or somehow packaged in a way to make it last another few weeks? If so, the Warriors would like to know.
They shot 54.1 percent (20-of-37) from beyond the arc, with Curry, Draymond Green and Quinn Cook doing most of the damage.
This was the season-high seventh consecutive game in which they shot at least 38.0 percent from deep. They shot 48.0 percent (118-of-246) from 3-point distance over those seven games, going 6-1 over that span.
These are numbers the Warriors would love to bottle and pull out during the postseason.
Draymond making them pay
One of the tricks opponents have used -- successfully at times -- against the Warriors is choosing not to defend Green and daring him to shoot, especially from beyond the arc.
It might be time to re-think that strategy.
Green scored a season-high 20 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. And this is not a one-game aberration. Green is 16-of-38 (42.1 percent) from deep over his last 12 games.
After spending most of the season shooting well below 30 percent, Green has found his stroke. At this rate, it would be risky, perhaps even foolish, if teams continue to ignore his scoring potential.