OAKLAND – When Draymond Green finishes the first two possessions with triples and Stephen Curry scores 40 points, it's hard for the Warriors to lose. They tried to, down the stretch, but hung on for a tip-to-horn 120-116 win over the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors had a much easier time one night earlier in Los Angeles, taking less than five minutes to build a double-digit lead they never lost and coasting to a 108-90 rout of the Lakers.
Here are some of the positives and negatives from a pair of tune-up wins over teams that will watch the playoffs.
Torching the nets
The Warriors shot a respectable 39.1 percent from deep against the Lakers, and bumped up to an amazing 54.1 percent against the Cavaliers. While Stephen Curry rebounded from a 1-of-9 performance in LA to splash 9-of-12 from the outside the next night, his teammates shot 45.9 percent in LA and 44.0 percent against Cleveland.
That was enough to extend to seven the streak of games in which the Warriors shot at least 38 percent from deep. Through the first 72 games this season, the longest such streak was four.
With the postseason looming, their timing is good. The quality of competition has not been stellar; Denver is the only one of the seven that is a lock for the playoffs. There is no easier way for so many to find their shooting touch.
Bad habits resurface
Coach Steve Kerr said he knows what he will stress over the final three regular-season games: Limiting turnovers and offensive rebounds by the opponent. Actually, those two areas have been frequent topics of concern for most of the season.
The Warriors, for the most part, don't sweat it, particularly when facing vastly inferior teams such as the Lakers and Cavs. That explains why the Warriors were outrebounded both nights, 62-51 (18-9 on the offensive glass) and 48-38 (12-4) and committed a combined 28 turnovers to giving their opponents 35 points.
Maybe the Warriors have given up on "building good habits" – one of their pet phrases – and will instead expect those issues to vanish when they reach for their postseason shoes.
Good news, bad news bench
Even without sixth man Andre Iguodala (sore left toe), the Warriors got a decent effort from their reserves in LA and a strong one on the second night.
The good news is that the scoring efficiency on deep shots was off the charts. With Quinn Cook (6-of-11) leading the assault, the bench over the two games shot 12-of-24 (50 percent) beyond the arc.
The bad news is that the bench was clobbered on the glass, 32-17 in LA and 18-8 against the Cavs. Jonas Jerebko grabbed four in a combined 36 minutes, Kevon Looney grabbed four in 24 and Jordan Bell did the same.
To sum it up, the shooting was enough, barely, to offset the extra possessions given to the Cavs.
The Warriors were outscored by 10 (24-14) in the fourth quarter in LA, with reserves who inherited a 28-point lead allowing the Lakers to shave 10 points off the margin.
They were outscored by nine (30-21) in the fourth quarter against Cleveland, with the starters responsible for nearly all of the give-back.
Except Kerr's starters looked like a group that had mentally checked out, playing careless offense and sloppy defense and allowing the Cavs to go on a 14-2 run, cutting the margin to three (115-112) with 2:52 left.
The Warriors held on, but they had to do some serious scrambling. That's never a good look.