Basketball

Cavs, Warriors struggle to shake off early-season blues

The NBA champions Golden State Warriors and beaten finalists Cleveland Cavaliers tumbled yesterday morning (Singapore time) as early-season struggles continued for the league's powerhouses.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 66 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 114-95 victory over the Cavs in Cleveland.

In Oakland, California, the Warriors coughed up 25 turnovers in a 115-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

The Knicks notched their first win over the Cavs since Oct 30, 2014, ending a 10-game losing streak against the Cavs, tipped before the season to be headed to the Finals for a fourth time.

Hardaway scored 34 points and Porzingis added 32 with 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who handed LeBron James and the Cavaliers a fourth defeat in eight days.

"Tonight's loss and the last couple are unacceptable, and the only way we're going to be able to get out of it is to put the work in - as players, as coaches," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "And we're going to do that."

James, who yesterday contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, feels it's too early in the season to worry.

"What is this? October? I'm not about to go crazy over it right now," James said.

While the Cavs have struggled with slow starts, the Warriors have been finding it hard to hold on to leads.

Golden State squandered a 14-point third-quarter advantage over Detroit, who shot just 46.2 per cent from the field but benefitted from the Warriors' sloppy play.

"At some point, the ball just has to matter," said exasperated Golden State coach Steve Kerr.

"We are throwing the ball all over the place. It's focus and execution.

"Teams are coming after us every single night, and we know that. We are getting everybody's best shot, and if you don't match that type of energy and play with some intelligence and some discipline, you are not going to win." - AFP

OTHER RESULTS:

Atlanta 106 Milwaukee 117, Indiana 97 San Antonio 94, Brooklyn 111 Denver 124, Charlotte 120 Orlando 113, Sacramento 83 Washington 110.

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