So, this is what it takes for the Warriors to finally lose a game. Cleveland finally broke through in the Game 4, winning by a score of 137-116. For the Warriors, it was their first loss in the playoffs, and their first loss with their starting lineup intact since Feb 2. All it took was for Cleveland to score an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter and an NBA Finals Record 86 points in the first half, all while hitting an NBA Finals record 13 three pointers in the first half enroute to an NBA Finals record 24 threes for the game. Cleveland led by double digits for most of the game, but the game still didn’t feel over until late in the fourth quarter. Here are your Game 4 talking points.
1. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, & Kevin Love
For the first time this series, all of Cleveland Big 3 had a great game in the same game. LeBron James recorded his NBA Finals record 9th triple double in this game. Also, he finally had an iconic NBA Finals dunk, seen below. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both had their best games of the Final, with Irving scoring 40 points and Love scoring 23 points while shooting 6-8 from three.
LeBron oops it off the board to himself and slams pic.twitter.com/WpIFlyFsgw
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) June 10, 2017
2. Cleveland’s Role Players
Cleveland supporting cast also played their best game of the finals, collectively. J.R. Smith hit 5 threes, including one from Steph Curry range as the shot clock wound down.
— NBA (@NBA) June 10, 2017
Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert both played great defense. Tristan Thompson finally had a halfway decent game. And the officials finally stepped up and gave the Cavs 22 first quarter free throws.
3. The Officiating
I think fans on both sides will agree that the officiating was horrible in this game. Warriors fans probably did feel like the fix was in as the Cavs got free throw after free throw in the first half. The officials also missed a blatant over and back violation by Kryie Irving and made a terrible call to assess Draymond Green with a technical foul in the second half.
On the other side, Kevin Love was called for a questionable flagrant foul on Kevin Durant. Warriors center Zaza Pachulia seemingly got away with punching Iman Shumpert in the groin, and the aforementioned technical foul on Draymond Green should have warranted an automatic ejection as it was his second technical foul of the game. Except, it ended up not being his second technical foul because, apparently, his first technical foul was actually called on Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Only nobody knew that until the second technical foul was called. Like literally nobody. The official stats had the first technical foul on Green. The commentators, the fans, the Warriors and Cavs players and coaches all thought the first technical was on Green. It was odd, to say the least.
4. The Warriors Inability to close out Cleveland
This game marks the fourth consecutive time the Warriors have failed to beat Cleveland in a game that would have won them a championship, dating back to last year’s Finals. As you may recall, Cleveland became the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals last year, and are attempting to become the first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit this year. This puts a lot of pressure on the Warriors to win Monday night, as a loss with have them going back to Game 6 in Cleveland.
5. The Kardashian Curse?
Khloe Kardashian attended Game 4 and was met by load groans from the crowd, leading commentator Jeff Van Gundy to address the Kardashian Curse during the game. He rightfully pointed out that it was ridiculous to blame Tristan Thompson’s poor play on his girlfriend, saying that when other players struggle, we don’t blame their wives. Thompson, for his part, scored 5 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his best game of the finals.
I hope this catches you up on the latest NBA happenings. Game 5 is Monday night, so check back Tuesday for our recap.