Saturday, June 11, 2016

Game 4 - Second Half Outburst

The big story heading into Game 4 was whether or not Cleveland's head coach Tyronn Lue would start Kevin Love, who has suffered a concussion in Game 4. Love was cleared to play minutes before Game 4 started, but Lue chose to start Richard Jefferson, who had filled in for Love in Cleveland's 30 point Game 3 victory.

Jefferson preceded to begin the game on fire, but not in the way Lue had hopped. Harrison Barnes torched Jefferson, scoring 8 points in the first two minutes of the game. Jefferson finished the game with 3 points.

At one point in the first, Jefferson accepted the challenge to guard the struggling two-time MVP, Stephen Curry. Curry nailed a three and it only took that one shot for him to get into the groove. By the end of the game, Curry quieted the critics with a game high 38 points.

Love's benching didn't help Kevin either. He finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. Still, Cleveland kept things close and even entered halftime with a five point lead. Warriors' assistant coach Luke Walton received a technical foul at the end of the half for arguing a call where Andre Iguodala was clearly fouled on a buzzer beater attempt. Cleveland started the second half up six.

Golden State moved past the refs' blown call- one of many tonight- and quickly rushed back. Curry and backcourt mate Klay Thompson were the catalysts. Thompson, who scored his first first quarter points in Game 4, finished with 25. Head coach Steve Kerr went with James Michael McAdoo for the first time in the series and he provided some much needed energy. Anderson Varejao, the first player ever to play for both Finals teams in the same season, also did the same.

The Warriors entered the fourth quarter with a lead. Halfway through the final period, the Warriors' offense exploded. Cleveland had no answers and their offense became stagnant. Cleveland inched closer in the last few minutes, but never really threatened.

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James kept Cleveland in it as long as they could. Irving scored 34 points and James posted 25 with 13 rebounds and 9 assists, but added 7 turnovers. Cleveland got some help from J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, who both added ten points, but neither played particularly well. Smith shot 3 for 10 fromt he field and Thompson, Cleveland's starting center, grabbed five very quick offensive rebounds, but only two total rebounds the rest of the game.

Golden State's offensive should it was more explosive, their coaching is better, and theuyy have more fight. In the fourth, Draymond Green stood up to LeBron after LeBron shoved down Green and stepped over him. By the end of the encounter, LeBron was the one who had lost his poise as Green, quickly becoming the man opponents love to hate, simply smiled.

Golden State won 108-97 to take a 3-1 lead headed home for Game 5.

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