Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Warriors set record while Spurs, Cavaliers stumble

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Here’s what you missed Monday while you were binge-watching House of Cards (Frank Underwood is as great a character as there is on television right now):

1) It’s not pretty, but Warriors set a new record for consecutive home wins.
Golden State has won 45 consecutive games at Oracle Arena, passing the Jordan-era Bulls for the most consecutive wins at home ever. It’s another milestone for a team trying to build a legacy. There are two ways you can look at this game from the Warriors’ perspective. One is that their shots started falling again (16-of-35 from three), they got back to playing fast, and, more importantly, they got back to having fun on the court — everything that was missing in the loss to the Lakers.

I subscribe to the second theory: This is how the Warriors have played the last few weeks. They were sloppy (they turned the ball over on 21 percent of their possessions), their defense wasn’t sharp, they played to the level of their opponent, and got bailed out by Stephen Curry and his ridiculous shooting skills. This has been the trend lately, the Warriors are not playing as well as they had earlier this season, it’s just being masked by Curry. Which happens over the course of a season — team’s stumble and when you have the world’s best player he gets you wins when other teams would suffer a loss. But with the playoffs 20 games away, the Warriors need to start to turn around this ship.

Still, it’s a historic win for the Warriors in front of their raucous fans. And Curry became the first player ever with 300 threes in a season — something he did with vintage Curry flare.

2) Cavaliers struggle against shorthanded Grizzlies and lose because of Tony Allen offensive explosion. No. Mike Conley. No Marc Gasol. No Zach Randolph. No Courtney Lee. No Matt Barnes. No Chris Andersen. No Brandan Wright. The Memphis Grizzlies are the walking definition of banged up, the problem was the Cavaliers came out and played like they expected Memphis just to roll over. The Grizzlies still grit and grind, plus they had the secret weapon that is Tony Allen — he was 11-of-17 shooting for 26 points. Allen’s only offensive move is a straight-line drive to the rim, but that worked as he got deep into the paint for 13 of his shots (and he went 2-of-4 on his rhythm jumpers). Mario Chalmers also was slicing and dicing the Cavaliers defense, while the Cavs offense was a lot of talented guys playing next to one another, not with one another.

The Cavaliers do not bring it every night, their level of focus tends to be tied to the level of their opponent. That can happen this time of the season, but if the focus is on personal brands and tweets, they will not get past it. And the Cavs need to get past it as they start to gear up for a playoff run.

3) LeBron James passed John Havlicek on all-time scoring list. LeBron James had 28 points in the loss, and he is at the point in his career where he is going to set milestones all the time, such as passing Celtics’ legend John Havlicek for 13th on the all-time scoring list. Congrats to LeBron.

4) Spurs followed Warriors’ lead from Sunday, have terrible shooting night and lose. It’s probably best Gregg Popovich didn’t have to watch this. He is away from the team for personal reasons and he missed a rough shooting night from San Antonio — they scored a season-low 32-points in first half, shot 27.1 percent and were 1-of-14 from three before halftime. It got a little better in the second half, but the Spurs shot 34 percent on the night and down the stretch didn’t have an answer for Monta Ellis, who finished with a game-high 26 points (Paul George had 23). This was a quality win for the Pacers, who earned it with their play at both ends. The Spurs had won eight in a row and had been dominating teams coming in, so we’ll chalk this up to a one-off performance. We’ll see how they bounce back against Minnesota on Tuesday night.

5) Tweet of the night, Rockets’ rookie ragging on Dwight Howard. This is about the most Dwight Howard photo ever, and Rockets rookie Sam Dekker called him out for it (but you can’t let a rookie do you like that, Dwight).