After getting pounded by Cleveland in Game 3, the Golden State Warriors were able to heat up and took down the Cavaliers in Game 4, 108-97. Not only did the Dubs play stellar late-game defense, Stephen Curry finally came around and found his rhythm. However, the Cavs didn’t help themselves by shooting poorly from the foul line, making a ton of defensive mistakes to start the second half, and having an entirely stagnant offense in the fourth quarter.
It was evident the Cavaliers came out with a different energy than Game 2. LeBron James reverted to thinking “pass first,” and attempted just two shots in the opening quarter. A majority of Cleveland’s 28-point offense came from Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, who had nine and eight points, respectively; Thompson was a monster on the offensive glass, hauling in five boards. Both Harrison Barnes and Curry were the catalysts for the Dubs’ offense. They both chipped in eight of the Warriors’ 29 points and were 4/5 from deep. The officials were quick to blow the whistle in the first, and Klay Thompson had to sit early with two fouls. He did, however, score five points while on the floor.
The Cavaliers pulled ahead a little bit with a 27-21 second quarter but left some points on the board by going 5/9 from the foul line. James was slightly more aggressive, but it was clear that Irving was the go-to guy on offense. Uncle Drew was 3/4 shooting with seven points while James was 2/4 with five points, four boards, and three assists; J.R. Smith also had five points but struggled to find any consistency in the offense and shot just 2/5. Klay and Curry had to keep the offense afloat in the second — a theme that wasn’t present through the first three games. The Splash Brothers combined for 12 of Golden State’s 21 points and shot 4/9 from the field. With their second quarter drop off, the Dubs entered halftime trailing 55-50.
Fortunately for the Warriors, they were able to get into a flow from behind the three-point line and shot 6/13 en route to a 29-point outburst — it was fortunate because they were 3/11 on two-point attempts. Their improved shooting performance was also a byproduct of mistakes on defense by the Cavs, who got confused on multiple possessions when they didn’t switch properly and gave Curry and Thompson three-point layups. Their defensive lapses resulted in an 11-point quarter for Steph and a ten-point quarter for Klay. Irving and James were still doing all they could to keep the Cavs in the game and even held an eight-point lead at one juncture. Irving had 11, including a pull-up jump shot after making Steph stumble, and James had seven points, five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Heading into the fourth, the Dubs held a 79-77 lead.
The fourth was laced with chippiness and a ton of no-calls for both sides. Late in the period, James and Draymond Green got tangled up. The frustration of James’ face was evident, and he stepped over Green after he fell to the floor. (Side note: after being stepped over, Green hit James in his manhood and then went to hit him in the arm.) Curry was slowly pushing his team to victory by way of a 13-point quarter, and James finally went into attack mode, but it was too late. He finished with nine on 5/9 from the field, and Kyrie lost almost all of his effectiveness with a 3/10 quarter. The Dubs went for 29 while Cleveland struggled to hit 20; the disparity at the free throw line was telling, and Cleveland shot 2/6 while the Warriors hit all ten attempts.
The MVP played like an MVP with 38 points on 7/13 from three; Klay Thompson chipped in a very quiet 25 on 7/14 overall. Irving was the Cavs’ leading scorer with 34 on 14/28, and James finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, and three blocks.
The Dubs can wrap up the series at home on Monday, June 13 at 9:00 PM EST.