OAKLAND -- For each of the last two seasons, Oracle Arena patrons were deprived of the chance to see Warriors guard Baron Davis and Cleveland forward LeBron James on the court at the same time, since on both occasions, Golden State's point guard was serving a one-game suspension meted out by the NBA.
Tuesday night, Davis and James finally met alongside Interstate 880.
From an entertainment value, it was worth the wait. From the perspective of the Warriors' season, not so much.
James nearly recorded the 13th triple-double of his career, scoring 24 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out nine assists. That outweighed 29 points and 10 assists from Davis, leading to a 108-104 Cavaliers win that dropped Golden State to 0-4.
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"I felt we were playing good basketball, and at one point we had the game under control," Davis said. "Then we had a couple of bad breaks defensively. It's a tough loss, but it was a great NBA game. We're young, and we keep trying to figure it out."
It was the Warriors' most competitive game of the season, one that featured the continued steadying presence of Al Harrington (19 points, 10 rebounds) in the starting lineup, a few incandescent bursts from Monta Ellis (22 points, six rebounds) and the re-emergence of Matt Barnes (10 points, four rebounds).
But it didn't feature a W, thanks to the efforts of Cleveland's Daniel Gibson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, each of whom scored 22 points as James' sidekicks.
Davis and James didn't go head-to-head often until the fourth quarter, when they locked up in an individual battle that would eventually decide the game. James was guarding Davis and forced him to miss a tough 20-foot fadeaway from the left corner as the Warriors were nursing a 95-93 lead. James then latched onto the rebound, went coast-to-coast and found Damon Jones open in the left corner for a 3-pointer that gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the fourth quarter with 4:47 remaining.
The Warriors regained the lead on two free throws by Ellis at the 3:20 mark, but Cleveland would bounce back with three consecutive scores: a putback by Ilgauskas, a go-ahead 3-pointer over the Warriors' zone by Jones and two free throws by Ilgauskas.
Following two missed freebies by Andris Biedrins, a clanked step-back 3-pointer by Harrington and an over-the-shoulder air ball by Ellis, Davis took command. He drained two foul shots with 1:02 left to make it a one-possession game, forced James into a travel call at the other end and fed Biedrins for a layup with 36.8 seconds left to make the score 103-102.
But Gibson hit the last of his five 3-pointers to put Cleveland up by four with 19.5 seconds left.