Have you ever seen a team play a perfect half of NBA basketball?
Their 78 first-half points were the fourth-most by a team in a game this season, but the efficiency with which they operated was most impressive.
How they did it
What made the Warriors so great in the first 24 minutes? Their ball movement.
The Warriors had 26 assists, all of them by Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors shot 79 percent off passes from those four in the first half on Monday, including 18-of-21 (86 percent) from Curry, Durant and Iguodala.
The Warriors have recorded at least 25 assists in a half four times this season. No other team has had one such game. They set the tone with 13 assists on their first 15 baskets and never relented.
The Warriors were 26-of-33 in the half on their shots off a pass. Eighteen of those shots were uncontested. They were also 12-of-12 in transition off missed shots or blocked shots.
The Warriors also outscored the Cavaliers 34-6 in fast-break points. The 34 points were the most scored in an opening half since the Suns had 38 fast-break points against the Warriors on March 15, 2009.
As a result, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 43-7 on uncontested shots.
The scoring will get most of the attention but don’t forget that the Warriors played awesome defense in the first half too, especially Durant and Green.
As primary defenders, those two allowed four points on 15 plays, limiting the Cavaliers to 2-of-12 shooting, with 11 of those shots contested.
The Cavaliers couldn’t mimic the Warriors’ success. They were 1-of-11 shooting off passes in the first quarter, including 0-of-6 on passes from LeBron James.
The overall effort was a collective one on the Warriors’ part. In the first half, their reserves shot a combined 11-of-13 from the field. The Cavaliers’ starters were 12-of-33.
The 29-point halftime deficit matched the largest of James’ career (he and the Cavaliers trailed the Trail Blazers by 29 points at halftime last season).
Elias Sports Bureau research shows that the Cavaliers were the first defending champ to be down by at least 29 points at halftime of a game since the 2006-07 Heat trailed the Bulls at intermission on opening night (Oct. 31, 2006). The Bulls, who were knocked out by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs the previous season, won going away 108-66.