Game four was win or stay home for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and from the opening tip-off they were determined to win. No one was more determined than the leading scorer Kyrie Irving. Whether he was dribbling circles around the defense to get into the paint or pulling up from three, there was no shot he did not like in game 4.
“It’s do or die we understand that, you’ve got to demand a lot out of yourself and when you’ve got a running partner like this (LeBron) as well as great veterans in our locker room it makes the job a lot easier,” said Irving.
The Warriors came in looking to make NBA history being the first team to go 16-0 in the playoffs. But last night it was the Cavs who made NBA history making 24 three pointers the most in Finals history, to lead them to a 137-116 win over the Warriors avoiding a Finals sweep.
“We’ve got guys that can stretch the floor and make big shots and they did that tonight from Kyrie to Kevin, to Swish (J.R. Smith),” said LeBron
Coming into this series it was clear both of these teams were enormously talented, but who would get the best out of their stars. For the first three games Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson were producing at a high level for the Warriors. While LeBron James was the only star consistently playing great basketball for the Cavs, with Irving and Kevin Love having one good game apiece.
Tonight with their season on the line the Big three for Cleveland was unstoppable from beginning to end scoring a combined 94 points. The Cavs took a 6-0 lead in the first minute of the game with back-to-back threes from J.R Smith and Kyrie Irving and the Cavs would keep the lead the rest of the night.
Kevin Love (23 points) and Kyrie Irving (40 points) were draining threes left and right going 13-20 from beyond the arc. While LeBron continued his dominance getting his ninth NBA Finals triple-double (31pts 11ast 10rebs), passing Magic Johnson for the most all-time.
Tristan Thompson who averaged a double-double in the first two finals match-up was nonexistent in the first three games. Tonight he brought the energy and feisty attitude that was expected of him, grabbing offensive rebounds and giving the Cavs the boost they needed.
“Tristan Thompson came through huge for us tonight, he had 5 assists, 10 rebounds, that was the Tristan Thompson we know, he stepped up big for us,” said Love.
The Golden State Warriors would have a long night with only Kevin Durant (35 points) really providing any consistent production. Klay Thompson was 4-11 from the field but got into some early foul trouble, which kept him off the court limiting his ability to score. It also allowed Kyrie who Thompson has guarded all series, to get going offensively.
Stephen Curry could not find his shot going 1-7 from the field in the first half and finishing 4-13 for the game. The Cavs would once again double-team Curry coming off of pick and rolls forcing him to give up the ball.
“It was one of those nights where we just did not have anything clicking,” said Curry. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there on Monday and playing better.”
After a great first half where the Cavs would score 49 points in the first quarter (another NBA Finals Record) and shoot 59 percent from 3 point range. The Cavs knew the 3rd quarter would be important in the outcome of the game.
“They’re a great third quarter team but we didn’t let that stop us,” said Kevin Love. “We just wanted to continue to fight and push that pace, Kyrie and Bron were special again tonight.”
The Cavs great shooting would carry over from the first half and with it came some aggressive play that would prove how intense this rivalry has become. Multiple times the game was stopped to judge regular foul or flagrant fouls or pushing between both teams. Both LeBron and Kevin Durant, who are normally friendly, got into a seemingly aggressive argument at half-court while the refs were reviewing a play.
“You can take the hard fouls out of the game calling them flagrant, but you can’t take the emotion out of the game,” said Durant. “We weren’t coming to blows, we were just talking and that’s a part of basketball. It was nothing malicious,” he added.
There were seven technical fouls handed out in last night’s game and almost an ejection, so it’s clear the intensity has picked up. The only thing to hope for in game five is that both teams keep that feistiness and continue their great offensive play and we will be in for an epic game.
Game Five will take place at the Golden State Warriors’ Oracle Arena at 9 p.m. Monday with the Cavs looking to prevent elimination one more time.