As good as the Warriors have been this postseason, it was the Cavs who turned up the offensive pressure, scoring a Finals record for any quarter with 49 in the first and never looked back in a game that had a bit of everything.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Date and Time: Monday, June 12, 2017, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Cavaliers vs. Warriors TV Coverage: ABC
It may have been a case of too little too late, but the Cavaliers finally displayed the basketball that got them to the Finals for a third consecutive season. It would have been easy for the Cavs to pack it in after losing a late lead in Game 3 and falling behind 0-3 in the series. But the big guns for the Cavs outplayed the Dubs’ stars and Cleveland lives to play another game. It won’t be easy for Cleveland to win another title as no team has ever come back from a three-game deficit. But the Cavs got one, and that’s just what they needed.
The defending champs weren’t going down without a fight and that’s exactly what they did on Friday. Between the extracurricular activities on the floor, the Cavaliers were deadly from the three-point line, something that escaped them during the first three outings. The Cavs hit a Finals record 24 three-pointers, out-dueling the Dubs from behind the arc. They scored a record 49 points in the first quarter and had 86 by halftime, easily cashing the over for the third straight game and fourth in the last five.
It was a rare off night for the Dubs, and coupled with the Cavs’ hot shooting, Golden State never stood a chance. Kevin Durant reached the 30-point mark for the fourth straight time in the series, dropping in 35, but he was just 9 of 22 from the field. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both struggled, combining to make just 6 of 19 from behind the arc and totaling 27 points.
With their difficulties shooting the basketball, the Warriors still put up 116 points, and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. But the defense, which had been stellar in this series and throughout the playoffs, didn’t show up. The Warriors had won all 15 games this postseason and were 30-1 since Mar. 11, so you could say they were due for a loss. It’s hard to imagine the Warriors losing two in a row, but Draymond Green has provided the Cavs with added motivation and that could be enough to get Cleveland back in this series. If Green would just shut up and stop complaining about every call, this series might be over.
The Cavs used the three-point shot as a weapon during the regular season, ranking second in percentage, makes and attempts. They were deadly during the first three rounds of the playoffs, which allowed them to go 12-1. But the three-pointer was more of a non-factor during the Finals and the Cavs fell into a deep hole due to their inability to consistently hit the three. Over the first three games, the Cavs shots just 29.8 percent from behind the arc, and when they couldn’t hit one in the final three minutes of Game 3, their chance at a repeat took a serious hit.
But the Cavs bounced back in a big way on Friday by connecting on 24 of 45 from behind the arc for an insane 53.3 percent. In the first three games combined they made just 31 triples. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were the deadliest Cavs from distance on Friday. Love hit 6 of 8 triples while Irving was 7 of 12 and scored 40 points. The three-pointer is a great equalizer and if the Cavs can continue their hot shooting, we could return to Cleveland for another tilt.
Cavaliers vs. Warriors Free Picks
There has to be a sliver of doubt planted in the Warriors after Friday’s loss. The Dubs blew a 3-1 series lead last season, dropping the final three and surrendering the title. Golden State didn’t just lose the game they were outplayed in every area. If the Dubs had lost by a few points and the game was tighter, they could chalk that one up to fate. After all, the Cavs are defending champions. But the way Golden State lost has to be concerning.
Green was up to his usual antics and his comments prior to Game 4 ignited the Cavs. LeBron, Irving and Love were all masterful and the Cavs need a similar performance on the road to extend the series. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and look for the Dubs to be the favorite, but the Cavs aren’t ready to lay down just yet. Besides, another game would be beneficial for the NBA and the Cavs might get some calls on the road because of it.
Cavaliers vs. Warriors ATS Pick: Grab the points with Cleveland at BookMaker.eu
Cavaliers vs. Warriors Score Prediction: Cavaliers 114 – Warriors 109