The Cleveland Cavaliers might have found the blueprint to beating the mighty Golden State Warriors.
In an extra chippy Game 4, the Cavs dominated and bullied the Warriors and came out on top 137-116 to trim Golden State’s NBA Finals lead to 3-1.
One year after becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, is Cleveland on its way to becoming the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in any NBA series? We’ll learn more in Game 5 Monday in Oakland.
For now, the Cavaliers should be content to prolong the series, ruin what could have been the first perfect postseason in NBA history and put their own names in the record book.
The Cavs scored 49 points in the first quarter (a Finals record for any quarter) and 86 points in the first half (a playoff record for a first half in at least the shot-clock era). They made 24-of-45 3-pointers (53%), making Finals records set just four days ago already seem quaint. Their 137 total points were the most in a Finals game since 1987.
And they sure stunted while lighting up the scoreboard.
Behind it all was sound execution from a team that dared try to just outscore the Warriors in an offensive duel – and won.
LeBron (31 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (40 points, seven rebounds and four assists) were again outstanding. Unlike Game 3, they had help.
Kevin Love (23 points, five rebounds and two steals) looked like a true third star and continued to play actively.
Tristan Thompson (10 rebounds and five assists), with Kardashians in the house, finally showed up.
The Warriors, now 15-1 in the playoffs, failed to clinch the first perfect postseason in NBA history. What could have been the first line in their case as the greatest team of all-time is now null. They won’t get to re-coat the visiting locker room here in champagne smell.
But they can still win their second title in three years at home Sunday and, in a “light years ahead” move, make a ton of money doing it.
Golden State is still in the driver’s seat, but the Cavs gave the 2017 postseason one more thrilling night and a reason to wonder: Can they do it again?