NBA Playoffs

Cavaliers hold off the Warriors to force a Game 5


The Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals to force a Game 5 back in Oracle on Monday.

Sorry Warriors’ fans, there will be no 16-0. Put the champagne on ice for at least three more days as the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to hold off the Golden State Warriors to force a Game 5.

LeBron James was unstoppable again, getting an NBA Finals’ record ninth triple-double, surpassing Magic Johnson. The King finished the game with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and he continues on his miraculous playoff run. Yet, he isn’t even the biggest talking point for the night. Kyrie Irving was unstoppable again and the Cavaliers were riding his hot hand all night. Cleveland put up a fantastic offensive performance, one of the best we’ve seen in NBA Finals’ history. They were flawless from 3-point range, making the extra pass to find the open shooter and setting an NBA Finals record for most made 3s in a game.

On the other bench, Kevin Durant was spectacular again in search of his first ever NBA Championship. His teammates, on the other hand, didn’t look too interested from the start. The Warriors gave up 49 points…in the first quarter and it set the tone for the rest of the way. Durant finished the game with 35 points, four rebounds and four assists, but didn’t have a great shooting night. Stephen Curry has been great so far in the finals, but showed shades of the last two NBA Finals tonight. He had 14 points on 4-for-13 shooting and was a Warriors’ worst minus-25.

Here’s the box score from Game 4 and the three takeaways.

Takeaways

Kyrie Irving was sensational again and closed the deal. Uncle Drew was back again for Game 4 and was doing it all for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving was a huge reason the Cavaliers had 49 points in the first quarter and had an 18-point lead at halftime.

He was in attack mode all game long and was hitting timely shots every time the Warriors were finding momentum. Irving finished the game with 40 points on 15-for-27 shooting to go along with seven 3-pointers. Irving was special in Game 3, but he came up small in the closing minutes and that’s what everyone remembered. Irving was special for 48 minutes tonight and this is what the Cavaliers were capable of. Klay Thompson seems to giving Irving as much as he can handle, but when Uncle Drew’s cooking, it’s nearly impossible to stop.

The Cavaliers will need this version of Irving in order to stand a chance in Game 5 on Monday night.

The Cavaliers were red-hot shooting the ball. All series long, the Warriors were able to hold down the 3-point shooting of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was one of my keys coming into the series for the Cavaliers, if they wanted any chance of repeating as champions. Their 3-point shooting has been sporadic through the first three games, but it came alive tonight.

The Cavaliers shot 24-for-45 from 3-point range. Yes, they hit 24 3-pointers in an NBA Finals’ game. It’s something they’ll need to replicate in Game 5 on Monday in order to survive for a  Game 6 in Cleveland. Between the Big 3 of the Cavaliers, they had 15 3-pointers, more than the entire Warriors’ squad. J.R. Smith was himself again, going 50 percent from 3-point range, giving the much-needed help for the Cavaliers.

Tristan Thompson finally shows up in Game 4. “Double T,” as LeBron likes to call him, was fantastic in Game 4 for the Cavaliers and had his best game of the series. He was getting killed in the media for not showing up in the box score for the first three games, He didn’t score in two of the three games and was getting out-muscled on the glass by Draymond Green and the other Warriors’ bigs. In Game 4, Thompson had five points, but 10 rebounds and four on the offensive glass.

His hustle plays, energy and competitiveness was the reason the Cavaliers were able to win Game 6 at home last year. They needed exactly that this year, being down 3-0. Thompson gave them everything he had and more in this game and the Cavaliers were able to break through and win.

There’ll be a Game 5 and the Warriors will have another try at the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Monday at Oracle. Can the Cavaliers re-enact Game 5 from last year and force their way back to Cleveland or will the Warriors take back the crown from the Cavaliers.



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