Well, I just got back from Kimball’s in beautiful Westford, Massachusetts, which means I ate too much ice cream and have a tummy ache, but like Kevin Love, I’ve been cleared and am available for tonight’s game! That’s right, Kevin Love is active after missing Game 3 with a concussion, but he’ll be coming off the bench tonight.
9:00 pm – We’re welcomed to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio by Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Tonight, the Cavs will be looking to tie this series at two after notching their first win with a big Game 3 victory. After Cleveland’s big win, much of the noise around the Finals have been about the struggles of Steph Curry, who has been relatively subdued over the first few games of the series. It’s time for him to break out for a big performance tonight, because the Warriors have gotten away with his substandard output for about as long as they can.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 11, 2016
As for the Cavs, they’re electing to stay small, with Richard Jefferson remaining in the starting lineup, and Kevin Love coming off the bench. Will the Warriors recapture their groove, or have the Cavs figured out how to dominate?
9:11 – The Warriors control the opening tip and Game 4 is underway! Harrison Barnes knocks down a three from the corner, and Golden State starts off with a 3-0 lead.
9:12 – Kyrie Irving gets his own corner three, and we’re tied, 3-3. By the way, the Warriors are staying with their regular starting lineup, with Andrew Bogut at center.
9:19 – Irving hits another corner three, and it leads into our first time out of the evening. The score’s Cleveland 13, Golden State 10 with 7:05 left in the opening quarter. We’re off to a much more competitive start than we were in Game 3. In other news, Steph Curry has yet to score in the first quarter during these Finals, which is unusual seeing as he was the league’s leading scorer.
— NBA (@NBA) June 11, 2016
9:25 – Kevin Love comes off the bench for the first time tonight, and gets a huge ovation from the crowd. Meanwhile, Klay Thompson commits his second foul, and he’ll head to the bench as Kyrie Irving puts the Cavs ahead, 18-17, with a free throw.
9:27 – Steph Curry hits a three, and there’s his first points in any of the first quarters during these Finals. It ties the game at 20.
9:30 – We’ve got a time out after LeBron James commits his second foul. We’ll see if he remains in the game, or if he’ll be stashed away on the bench like Klay Thompson. Anyway, the score’s Cleveland 22, Golden State 22 with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
9:34 – Back from the time out, LeBron is on the bench for the Cavs. Meanwhile, Steph Curry hits a pair of free throws to put the Warriors up, 24-22.
9:39 – An excellent first quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 29, Cleveland 28. This is the best we’ve seen each team play at the same time, and I think we can all agree that we’d like to see this continue. The Warriors are shooting much better from the field, and Tristan Thompson is gobbling up offensive rebounds to give the Cavs extra scoring opportunities. Please keep up the good work, everyone.
9:45 – Iman Shumpert hits a little jumper to score the first points of the second quarter and put the Cavs up, 30-29.
9:49 – We’re going to have a time out with the score Golden State 34, Cleveland 32 with 8:18 remaining in the first half. One thing that’s been different about Kevin Love in this game is that he’s spending a lot more time in the post and around the basket where he made a great living back when he played for Minnesota. Maybe it’ll take him coming off the bench for the Cavs to use him properly.
9:57 – Another time out as this continues to be a close one. I hope I didn’t just jinx it. Anyway, the score’s Golden State 39, Cleveland 36 with 5:58 remaining until halftime. Meanwhile, Jeff Van Gundy just told us all about how OJ Simpson was listening to Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals during his infamous car chase, according to Pat Riley, who was told by the driver of the white Bronco. I only half listened because I’m tired of hearing about both OJ Simpson, and anything Jeff Van Gundy has to say.
10:05 – Steph Curry has Tristan Thompson guarding him, and he easily gets by the Cavs big man. Unfortunately for him, Kyrie Irving heads him off and blocks his layup attempt out of bounds! It’ll get us a time out with the score Cleveland 42, Golden State 41 with 4:16 left in the second quarter.
10:16 – The first half comes to a close with the score Cleveland 55, Golden State 50 after a last second three from Andre Iguodala is no good. Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt Iguodala was fouled, and is so angry at the lack of a call, he earns a technical foul. We’ll deal with that after halftime.
Kyrie Irving leads Cleveland with 16 points, Tristan Thompson has 10 points and 5 rebounds, and JR Smith has also scored ten. Steph Curry leads the Warriors with 14 points, and Klay Thompson isn’t far behind with 11. While the Warriors haven’t been performing at their best, they’ve been doing a great job keeping this one close against an energized Cavs team. I can’t tell if they should be worried they’re down five, despite a quiet first half from LeBron, or if they should be happy to be hanging in there after a less than peak performance. Either way, we’ve got a close game here at halftime, and hopefully it continues on to be one that’s worth staying up for.
10:31 – It’s time for Today in NBA Playoff History, presented by Basketball-Reference!
Back on June 10, 1984, the Los Angeles Lakers forced a Game 7 in the NBA Finals with a much needed 119-108 victory over the Boston Celtics. Trailing 3-2 in the series, the Lakers won Game 6 at home to ensure a seventh game. Larry Bird led the Celtics with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists, and Gerald Henderson came up with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Dennis Johnson chimed in with 20 points and 6 assists, but it was all for naught, as the Lakers had four players score over 20 points, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 30 point, 10 rebound and 5 assist effort. Michael Cooper had 23 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists, Magic Johnson had 21, 6 & 10, while James Worthy had 20 points and 7 boards. Thanks to the big win, the Lakers lived to fight another day, which led to a Game 7 at the old Boston Garden to finish off what is still remembered as a classic Finals. They ended up losing.
10:33 – Back from halftime, Kyrie Irving shoots the technical free throw from the end of the first half. He hits it for the first point of the second half, which he then follows up with a jumper, and the Cavs have their largest lead of the game at 58-50. Irving’s got 19 points so far.
10:39 – Klay Thompson nails a three, and we not only have a time out, but a one possession game with the score Cleveland 63, Golden State 61 with 8:11 left in the third. Thompson and Steph Curry are having their best games of the Finals, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Warriors are going to need them both if they’re going to pull out a win here in Game 4.
10:44 – Richard Jefferson busts out some vintage moves to get a layup, but Klay Thompson answers with a three, and the Warriors trail, 65-64. On the next possession, LeBron James gets the Cavs lead up to 67-64 with a jumper.
10:45 – Kyrie Irving uses some fancy footwork against Steph Curry to shake free for a jumper, which he knocks down to put the Cavs ahead, 69-64.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 11, 2016
10:47 – Klay Thompson pulls up for a jumper, and he’s up to 21 points, as the Warriors trail, 69-66.
10:48 – Andre Iguodala hits a three, and we’re tied at 69.
10:49 – The Warriors finish off a fast break with Klay Thompson sending the ball out to an open Steph Curry in the corner. He knocks down the three, and we’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 72, Cleveland 69 with 4:07 left in the third! The Warriors are on an 8-0 run to take the lead, and Curry’s got 23 points, with Thompson at 21 after the two had been quiet throughout the first three games of the Finals.
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) June 11, 2016
10:54 – After drawing a foul against former teammate Anderson Varejao, Kevin Love goes 0-2 from the free throw line.
10:55 – Kyrie Irving gets to the hoop for a reverse layup! He’s got 25 points, and the Cavs trail, 72-71. On the next possession, Draymond Green goes along the baseline for a layup, and Love fouls Varejao. Jeff Van Gundy is convinced Varejao flopped, and now the refs are reviewing the play. They determine the foul came before the layup, so no points for Green, and Varejao will head to the line, where he hits two free throws to put the Warriors up, 74-71. Van Gundy launches into a tirade about flopping. Great.
10:57 – LeBron James corrals an offensive rebound and slams it home, and the Cavs trail, 74-73.
10:58 – The ball is knocked out of bounds, and it’ll lead into a time out with the score still Golden State 74, Cleveland 73 with 2:24 left in the third.
11:01 – Andre Iguodala makes a great pass to Steph Curry who cuts along the baseline for a reverse layup, extending the Warriors lead to 76-73.
11:02 – Draymond Green goes up for a fast break dunk, but he’s fouled. He goes 1-2 from the line, but Anderson Varejao is able to get the rebound off the missed free throw. It leads to a nice bounce pass from Green to Iguodala for a dunk, and the Warriors have their largest lead of the night at 79-73.
— NBA (@NBA) June 11, 2016
11:05 – A pair of Kevin Love free throws makes this a two point game again with the Cavs behind, 79-77. Steph Curry then misses a long three pointer at the buzzer, and a lively third quarter is over with the score still Golden State 79, Cleveland 77.
This is just what the doctor ordered. The Finals suddenly feel alive as these two teams are battling hard. The Warriors looked like themselves during the latter stages of that third quarter, but the Cavs are still right with them as we enter the final twelve minutes of the game. Can the Warriors hang on for a win and put themselves one game away from their second straight championship, or can the Cavs send this series back to Oakland tied at two?
11:09 – Kevin Love gets a turnaround in the paint to bounce through the hoop, and the fourth quarter is underway with the game tied at 79.
11:10 – LeBron James gets himself to the basket for a layup, and the Cavs retake the lead at 81-79. It’s short lived, as Shaun Livingston ties us up at 81 with a hook shot.
11:11 – After Kyrie Irving misses a layup, LeBron James comes flying in for a dunk! Harrison Barnes is unimpressed and knocks down a three, and the Warriors lead, 84-83.
11:12 – Andre Iguodala ventures towards the paint and hits a pull-up from the free throw line. It leads to a time out with the score Golden State 86, Cleveland 83 with 9:03 left in the ball game.
11:16 – Tristan Thompson goes up with the ball, but he’s fouled. He misses both free throws, and the Cavs remain behind, 86-83. Thompson’s an unfortunate 0-5 from the line tonight. Shaun Livingston then hits a pull-up, and the Warriors go up, 88-83.
11:18 – Kyrie Irving goes 1-2 from the free throw line, and Tristan Thompson wrestles for control of an offensive rebound. However, Irving then misses a three, and the Warriors trail, 88-84.
11:19 – Klay Thompson misses a long three, but the rebound gets tipped to Steph Curry who’s all alone under the basket. He easily puts it in, and the Warriors lead is up to 90-84.
11:20 – Andre Iguodala, who’s having a really great game, especially on the defensive end, gets an offensive rebound after Steph Curry misses a close range shot. He passes the ball out to Harrison Barnes who knocks down a three, and the Cavs need a time out as the Warriors have awoken. The score’s Golden State 93, Cleveland 84 with 5:56 remaining.
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) June 11, 2016
11:26 – Another time out, and the score’s still Golden State 93, Cleveland 84 with 4:13 remaining. Things are getting a little sloppy out there, but the Warriors are doing a great job making it hard for the Cavs to score down the stretch, led by the defensive efforts of last year’s Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala.
11:31 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
LeBron James knocks over Draymond Green, and James then steps over him as Green tries to get up, an ultimate sign of disrespect. Green is displeased and takes a swing at James, and they get into each others faces as play continues, then get tangled up again going for a rebound, and square off again! They’re quickly separated, and nothing too noteworthy happens. Each player is called for a personal foul. By the way, the Warriors lead, 96-86.
11:35 – Another time out with the score Golden State 96, Cleveland 88 with just 1:49 remaining. As you might imagine, LeBron and Draymond (we’re going on a first name basis here) seem pretty fired up as they continue to battle against each other. It’s great to see that sort of heated energy, but time’s running out on the Cavs.
11:38 – A fan has run onto the floor! Just like they do in baseball, the cameras refuse to show it, so I have no idea what the hell happened, so let’s hand it over to our friends on Twitter…
Lmao. Dude has TRUMP SUCKS written on his body.
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) June 11, 2016
…he’s probably just gearing up for the Republican Convention, also being held at the Quicken Loans Arena. Anyway, security tackled and arrested him real quick. Good work, security!
Topless man with “Trump Sucks” inscribed on his chest tackled and arrested on floor at NBA Finals. pic.twitter.com/j0OqeY8GsX
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 11, 2016
11:40 – Steph Curry gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Cavs call their last time out. The score’s Golden State 98, Cleveland 89 with 54 seconds to go.
11:42 – LeBron quickly gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Warriors call a time out with the score Golden State 98, Cleveland 91 with 45.7 seconds left, and fans now heading away from the court and towards the exits.
11:44 – With 44.6 seconds left, the Warriors call their final time out after they can’t inbound the ball after the Cavs intentionally fouled them. As both teams go to their benches, LeBron James and Steph Curry share some unfriendly words.
Tempers STILL flaring in Cleveland. pic.twitter.com/b4h8vYx4dC
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) June 11, 2016
11:46 – After the Warriors inbound the ball, Klay Thompson is intentionally fouled, and he hits both free throws, putting the Warriors ahead, 100-91. Kyrie Irving then gets to the basket for a layup, and Steph Curry is intentionally fouled with Cleveland trailing, 100-93.
11:47 – Steph hits his free throws, and LeBron gets to the hoop for another layup, followed by another intentional foul of Curry. It’s now Golden State 102, Cleveland 95 with 21.1 seconds left.
11:48 – Curry hits two more free throws, LeBron goes in for a half hearted dunk, and Klay Thompson is intentionally fouled with 13.7 seconds left and the Warriors ahead, 104-97.
11:49 – Thompson hits his free throws, and then Steph Curry gets a steal! That should seal this one, but Richard Jefferson fouls him for good measure with 8.2 seconds left on the clock.
11:51 – Curry hits his free throws, and the Cavs dribble out the clock. Our final score from the Quicken Loans Arena: Golden State 108, Cleveland 97. In the win, the Warriors set a Finals record for three pointers made in a game with 17, and also set an NBA record for most wins in the regular season and Playoffs combined in one year, with 88. More importantly, they’re now one win away from winning their second consecutive championship
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson roared to life in the second half and led the Warriors to an important victory. Curry finished with 38 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, and Klay Thompson scored 25. Draymond Green chipped in with nine points and 12 rebounds. As a team, the Warriors actually hit more threes (17) than two-pointers (16). Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 34, and LeBron James nearly had a triple-double with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists, but Cleveland sputtered in the second half and finished the night with an unfortunate loss.
After it looked like the Cavs had a real chance to tie this series, the Warriors got to work and rediscovered their groove. As that was happening, the Cavaliers ran out of gas and crumbled down the stretch. Any chance they might have had in this series has seemingly gone out the window, as no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. At least the people of Cleveland have the Republican Convention to look forward to. As for the Warriors, they’re heading home with a chance to win the title on their home floor in Game 5, where hopefully nobody runs onto the court.
The Cavs really seemed to give it their best shot during the couple of games in Cleveland, and in the end, they just don’t have what it takes to overthrow the defending champs. That’d be fine if expectations weren’t so high, and they’ll have a lot of pressure on them in Game 5, and beyond, especially if they can’t prolong the series. In the meantime, we have an entire weekend to speculate on it, so feel free to use your imagination and try and predict what the Cavaliers will do this offseason. While you’re at it, try not to eat too much ice cream, and we’ll reconvene on Monday night for Game 5.