The Cleveland Cavaliers responded in game 3 with a 30 point victory over the Golden State Warriors. They were without Kevin Love and decided to start Richard Jefferson so LeBron James could play power forward. With Kevin Love returning Coach Lue decided to bring him off the bench for game 4. It will be interesting to see how Love plays off the bench and if he has a short leash.
Golden State came out with some energy in game 4. They played much better on both ends of the floor and were able to get some good shots in the quarter. They knocked down five 3-pointers and Steph Curry was much more aggressive.
Curry scored eight points but he was attacking and making plays for other guys. Klay Thompson scored his first points in the first quarter of the series but he picked up two fouls and sat down. Harrison Barnes got off to a strong start with eight points.
Kyrie Irving was the spark once again in the first quarter for the Cavaliers. He scored nine points on 3-6 shooting. It took more than five minutes for LeBron to actually take a shot. He was only 1-2 in the first quarter. Kevin Love made his return, playing four minutes in the quarter and scored four points.
Tristan Thompson continued to help the Cavs dominate on the offensive glass. He had five offensive rebounds and eight points in the opening quarter.
The game had a good pace as both teams were sharp with the ball only committing one turnover apiece. The Cavs had six assists on 10 made baskets while the Warriors had six assists on nine baskets. The Warriors had a first quarter lead.
In a surprising twist Steve Kerr actually played James Michael McAdoo four minutes in the first half. Andrew Bogut only played four minutes in the half as we seen a lot of Andre Iguodala in the first half.
Golden State continued to shoot it well from the outside as they ended the half 8-15 from 3-point range. The Splash Brothers combined for 29 points in game 3 but at the half of game 4 they had 25 points. They were 5-8 from 3-point range. Draymond continues to struggle against LeBron James; he passed up a few wide open looks because he didn’t trust his jumper.
The Cavs started the second quarter with their bench unit that included Kevin Love. He did a good job of defending and didn’t try to force things while out there. He played 14 minutes in the half and scored seven points.
Kyrie Irving did a good job of pushing the pace for the Cavaliers even after made baskets. He was able to get into the lane and hit some tough layups over multiple defenders. He led all scorers at the half with 16 points. He was making quick decisions and not over dribbling.
LeBron James had a weird start to the quarter as he was looking to pass. He was caught in the air trying to find guys multiple times. Luckily the Cavs only had four turnovers in the half, all belonged to LeBron James. He finished with seven points, five rebounds and five assists in the half.
Cleveland went into the half with a five point lead. They continued to dominate the offensive glass, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds in the half. The game was much more competitive as there were 14 lead changes in the first half alone after having a combined 14 lead changes in the first three games.
The Splash Brothers took over in the 3rd quarter. They scored the first 11 points for the Warriors. Golden State started to run a 1-2 pick and roll with Steph and Klay and that confused the Cavaliers.
On the first play the Cavs doubled down on Steph and left Klay wide open. The Warriors ran it again but Klay slipped the screen and that left Steph Curry wide open for a 3-pointer although he missed. Bad offense from the Cavs led to the Warriors pushing the ball and knocking down 3-pointers. They were 14-28 from 3-point range heading into the fourth. The Warriors went on an 8-0 run to take the lead and kept it heading into the fourth.
Cleveland’s defense was lackluster in the 3rd quarter. The Curry-Thompson pick and roll confused them. They also got lost on off-ball screens which gave Curry wide open 3-pointers. On offense they held the ball at times and the Warriors were able to set their defense and get some run outs.
Kyrie was part of the problem because he over dribbled at times during the quarter. He was at his best when he pushed the ball and made quick decisions. He was able to score nine points in the quarter. LeBron was still picking his spots but managed to score a few more baskets.
Whatever energy the Cavs had in the first quarter was gone by the fourth. They were late to all the 50/50 balls. Golden State started to beat them up on the offensive glass. They finished the game with 14 offensive rebounds. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving played the entire second half but their offense could not do anything.
Cleveland continued to play Iso ball against this Warriors team. There were many possessions where only one pass would be made. They expected Irving or James to bail them out late in the shot clock.
The Warriors went on a 12-1 to push their lead to double digits. During that span the Cavs were 0-8 from the field because they had no ball movement. It took Cleveland six minutes to finally hit a field goal but it was too late.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson took over the game in the second half on offense while the rest of the Warriors made the hustle plays. Curry had his best game of the series scoring 38 points on 11-25 shooting and 7-13 from 3-point range. Golden State tied the record for the most 3-pointers made in a NBA Finals game (17). Klay Thompson added 25 points and hit four 3-pointers of his own.
Cleveland will be haunted by all their missed free throws. Tristan Thompson was great on the offensive glass but he was 0-5 from the line. As a team they missed 11 free throws. After hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter the Cavs only hit three the rest of the game.
Despite 2-9 shooting Draymond Green played a very good game. He still had 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks.
Cleveland is in a 3-1 hole going back to Oakland. They played well when the ball was moving. Holding the ball against the Warriors is never a good idea. It seemed like Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took the majority of shots in the second half because there was no passing. On the other side the Warriors moved the ball and knocked down open 3-pointers.
LeBron James padded his stats towards the end of the game. Overall he was bad because he wasn’t aggressive enough. He waited too long to actual start attacking and trying to score. He got into the lane and was looking to pass which led to his seven turnovers.
Kevin Love played 25 minutes off the bench; he scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds.
The Cavs have to clean up their defense and hit free throws. It was the first close game of the series and Golden State executed down the stretch. Game 5 is on Monday.