Cleveland set a bevy of records in a 137-116 win over Golden State in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Behind the high powered duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Cleveland came out the gates firing. After struggling as a team from beyond the arc in the three prior contests, the Cavs were on-fire from three the entire night. From Kevin Love hitting corner threes to J.R Smith hitting near half court bombs, Cleveland set a Finals record with with most points scored in a quarter with 49. The hot shooting continued the rest of the game, hitting 24 three pointers, also an NBA Finals record.
Along with the three point barrage, a reassuring sight for Cleveland fans was the reemergence of Tristan Thompson. In Game 1 through 3, Thompson was a no-show. From his lack of rebounding to his inability to score, he was giving Cleveland nothing. They needed his physicality and rebounding to punish Golden State when they went small and he was not living up to his end of the bargain. Thompson was imposing his will in the paint, being physical and abusing smaller defenders when switched on him. While Thompson ended the night scoring five points while grabbing 10 rebounds, his contribution went further than the stat sheet.
James and Irving could do no wrong on the floor. James was getting to the rim easily and was hitting bombs from deep. He ended the night recording his ninth triple double (31 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists,) setting record with the most triple doubles in the Finals. Irving’s shot was set to automatic the whole game. He was knocking down shot after shot, even against Klay Thompson’s pesky defense. Irving ended the night with a game high 40 points respectively. Kevin Love finished with 23 points.
This wasn’t the easiest game for the refs. From the physical play to the chippiness back and forth from both teams, the refs used their whistles more than not. In the first quarter alone, Cleveland went to the foul line 23 times. The night was riddled with inconstant calls for both teams. But the biggest mishap was with Draymond Green. Early in the second quarter, Green was thought to have received his first technical foul and getting tangled up with Iman Shumpert. Then in the fourth quarter, Green received another tech after showing is disapproval for a call. But when it was time to send Green to the showers, it was revealed that the refs actually called the first tech on Steve Kerr, unbeknownst to anyone in the arena. Along with Green and Kerr’s techs, Refs handed out seven technical fouls, majority of which were on the Warriors.
Golden State took a haymaker in the first half and could never recover. Kevin Durant continued his 30+ point finals run, finishing with 35 points, but outside of him, the Warriors struggled on both ends of the ball. Golden State gave up open three after open three, did not communicate the whole night (except to the refs), and put Cleveland on the line entirely too much. Stephen Curry couldn’t get it going the entire night, finishing with only 14 points. While Green ended the night with 16 points and 14 rebounds, his defense was non-existent.
If Cleveland wants to extend the series, their role players will need to play as good as they did in Game 4. Irving and James will be their usual selves, but it’s going to take more than those two to keep the Warriors down for another game. Golden State will need to reinforce their defense and get back on track offensively if they want to close the series out in front of their home fans come Monday.
Game 5 will be on Monday, June 12 at 9 P.M.