The Warriors hold a 3-1 series lead and can clinch their second NBA championship in three seasons with a victory in front of their home crowd in Oakland, California.
With their backs against the wall, the Cleveland Cavaliers turned on the switch and had a night to remember in Game 4 Friday, blowing out the Golden State Warriors, 137-116.
The Cavaliers, trying to become the first team in the NBA to dig out of a 3-0 hole in the playoffs, jumped out to a phenomenal start and never gave the Warriors a chance to take the lead during the contest. They set new Finals records a plenty, namely the most points in the first quarter (48) and in the first half (86), as well as draining 24 three-pointers on 45 attempts.
It was expected that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving would take charge of Cleveland’s offense and they certainly stepped up tremendously at that. James secured his ninth triple-double (31-10-11) of the Finals to break Magic Johnson’s own record of eight, and with Irving exploding for a game-high 40 points on 7-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc.
What came as somewhat a surprise for the Cavs is that LeBron and Kyrie finally got some help from the rest of their supporting cast. Kevin Love knocked down six three’s and finished with 23 points, Tristan Thompson hauled-in double-digit rebounds for the first time this series with 10, and the bench pitched in with 23 points after a total of just 11 in Game 2.
The Warriors saw for the first time this series just how dangerous the Cavaliers really are on Friday as they had their 15-game playoff win streak snapped in rather embarrassing fashion. It was also the first time that they’ve lost a game in two months dating back to the regular season.
Golden State still got a terrific performance out of Kevin Durant, who scored 35 points in the loss. Stephen Curry, meanwhile, made just four of his 13 field-goal attempts to finish with 14 points, but still dished out 10 assists. Draymond Green was nearly ejected from Game 4 as well, but still finished with 16 points and 14 boards.
No doubt that the Warriors will be smarting from Friday’s defeat, but don’t count them out from ending the series in Oakland on Monday. They’ve scored an average of 118.3 points at home this postseason, all the while limiting their opposition to just a little over 100 points.
The Warriors exact sweet revenge by winning the Larry O’Brien trophy at home, but the Cavaliers (+9) put up another valiant effort and cover the spread, 123-119.
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