Asked before the game what impact he hopes to make on the underperforming Cavs, he cautioned, "We'll need a couple games at least. But I think everything is going to be great."
After trading two future first-round picks to pry Mozgov, along with a 2015 second-round pick, from the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, the Cavs weren't sure the 7-foot-1 Russian would be available to play against the Warriors. Mozgov joined the Cavs at their team hotel in San Francisco on Thursday night but had to pass a physical Friday before he would be cleared to take the court. The process took longer than expected, as the physical had to be performed at Stanford University and the information shared with Cavs doctors back at the Cleveland Clinic.
"It was just a little bit of confusion or concern with the tests that he did yesterday, but it was cleared up after shootaround," Cavs coach David Blatt said before the game. "He'll be in uniform and we'll get him out there. Obviously we're going to have to see how he's able to function, having not practiced with us. But he'll be out there."
Mozgov came in off the bench in the first quarter, wearing No. 20. His preferred No. 25 is retired by the Cavs organization in honor of Mark Price.
Blatt admitted the Cavs started targeting Mozgov in July. The 28-year-old big man was asked if he thought the Denver-Cleveland trade rumors would ever come to fruition.
"I always try to be away from this business," Mozgov said. "I just try to do my stuff on the court. Of course, I read the news, I knew it. But not too deep to think about it every day."
Losers of seven of their last nine games and playing without LeBron James (strained back and left knee) for the seventh straight contest and also without Shawn Marion (sore left hip) on Friday, the Cavs needed all the help they could get -- even if Mozgov had to be thrown into the fire.
"The coaching staff sat with him today to show him some things on paper and on video," Blatt said of Mozgov's preparation process. "Not the optimum situation for putting him in a game right away, but it's necessary and the sooner the better."
The fifth-year center has modest career averages of 6.4 rebounds and 4.9 rebounds per game, but with Anderson Varejao (torn Achilles) out for the season, the Cavs were willing to part with those valuable picks for his services. Mozgov said the price Cleveland paid to land him isn't lost on him.
"It makes me feel good," Mozgov said. "But the same I said before, I try not to go too deep in this business."
Mozgov's and Blatt's ties happen to run deep, as Blatt coached him and the Russian national team to a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.
"I like him as a coach," Mozgov said of Blatt. "He really brings the team together and makes the team want to play hard."
Blatt joked that they'll have their own way of communicating with one another.
"If need be, I could talk to him in Russian, that's for sure," Blatt said. "Otherwise, Timo' knows how to play and he'll give us what he can."