OAKLAND, Calif: The Cavaliers had chopped a 21-point deficit down to 11 early in the fourth quarter Friday night when Christian Eyenga soared high for a rebound following a Warriors miss. In his haste to keep the momentum on the Cavaliers' side, he fired the outlet pass to Manny Harris, only Harris wasn't there. Eyenga threw the ball without really looking for a carless, needless turnover. At the time, it was the 13th of the game.
Two minutes later, Alonzo Gee had a wide open jumper in the corner. He hesitated to take the shot, then began dribbling. J.J. Hickson was standing in the lane, expecting Gee to shoot. When the ball didn't go up, Hickson couldn't get out of the lane and the Cavs were whistled for three seconds.
This is the way it's going to go for the Cavs, who lost 116-98 to the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Given the rash of injuries, the young guys are going to play a lot over the remaining 46 games. Some of it will be good and a lot of it will be bad.
"Our guys are showing some fight," coach Byron Scott said. "We've just got so many young guys making mistakes. We have to keep working those young guys and make them more comfortable. Some of our careless mistakes are killing us and some of our inexperience and youth are hurting us just like at times it’s helping us."
Injuries have shredded the Cavaliers' roster. Anderson Varejao is in a walking boot after spraining his right ankle late in practice on Thursday and there's a decent chance he could miss every game on this west coast trip. Daniel Gibson certainly will, since he's back in Cleveland with his own severely sprained left ankle.
Anthony Parker is out indefinitely with a bad back and Leon Powe will miss at least six weeks recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Add it all up and it equals a heavy dose of guys like Eyenga, Gee and Manny Harris during this west coast swing.
Scott wasn't very happy with Gee, who went scoreless in 25 minutes, but did manage three steals. He was a little more pleased with Eyenga, but not much. Eyenga is still getting lost defensively when his defender gives up the ball, Scott said, and his offense wasn't any better against the Warriors. He finished with four points and four rebounds and a pair of nifty blocks in 27 minutes off the bench.
There is a good chance Eyenga will start at small forward Sunday at Phoenix. Scott was considering rotating Eyenga and Gee in the starting lineup for the next few games, and Gee showed nothing in terms of earning another start there against the Suns.
Either way, there are plenty of opportunities on a young Cavs team that is getting younger while still trying to learn how to defend. The Warriors shot better on 3-pointers (50 percent) than they did overall from the floor (48 percent). That's tough to do, but it's not the first time an opponent has pulled it off against the Cavs.
The Warriors scored 65 points in the first half, but that isn't even the most points the Cavs have allowed in a half this season -- the Minnesota Timberwolves hung 73 on them in the first half of an embarrassing lost last month on the road.
Antawn Jamison had 21 points and Manny Harris had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs for his first career double-double.
"We're coming out trying to play hard and work hard knowing we're down a couple of people," Harris said. "Coach Scott keeps giving me chances to produce, so I'm trying to go out and do something for the team. Trying to do anything to help this team get a win."
Hickson had 17 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double when Eyenga took a rebound away from him in the fourth quarter, and Mo Williams had 16 points and seven assists, but just five points after the first quarter.
The Cavs committed 17 turnovers against the Warriors, who know all about injury woes. Their entire roster is healthy and intact this week for the first time since 2008 -- a span of more than 200 games. Monta Ellis had 32 points and 10 assists, David Lee had 22 points and 14 rebounds and Dorell Wright had 20 points for the Warriors.
"You're not going to beat this team when you turn the ball over 17 times and they shoot 50 percent from the 3-point line," Scott said. "We just have to keep those young guys engaged in what we’re doing and just get them better. Simple as that."
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