Golden State Warriors bounced back from an embarrassing road loss two days ago to deal a devastating blow to LeBron James's Cavaliers, who lost their first home game of the postseason and now trail the best-of-seven NBA Finals 3-1 with Game Five scheduled for Monday in Oakland. The Cavs started to lose the rebounding battle and the second chance points from Golden State buried the Cavs.
The defending champion Warriors hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Since Wednesday's result, the debate has raged: Are the Cavaliers actually better without the three-time All-Star? Finally, with 3:15 left in the first quarter, he hit a three-pointer, and soon he was looking like the Curry from this regular season. For the Warriors, it was important to get out to a good start, after falling behind my 20 points in the first quarter in Game 3. "We have certain rules and we're trying to follow our rules... but no matter what you do, he's going to have a huge stat line and he's going to impact the game 1,000 different ways".
Love, back from a concussion that kept him out of Game 3, finished with 11 points and five rebounds in 25:00, but the rest of Cleveland's bench scored just four points. James was dominant, posting 32 points, 6 assists, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the win. PG Kyrie Irving and SG J.R. Smith combined for 50 points with 9 assists and 8 rebounds, and the entire team shot nearly 53% overall and 48% from three point range. "We can't relax just because we're going home and we've got a two-game cushion". And the Warriors insist they'll play differently tonight when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of The Finals.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the most important issue when making lineup changes is to be truthful with players. "He plays big minutes for us at multiple positions, so while his stats may not jump out at you, the versatility that he provides us is important".
As if passing Michael Jordan and knocking off LeBron James in one night wasn't enough, the Warriors also hit an NBA Finals record 17 3-pointers in the game. LeBron James (1,723) is two rebounds shy of passing Elgin Baylor for ninth place on the NBA's career playoff rebound list....
"He's Stephen Curry", coach Steve Kerr said.
Green also struck James lightly below the belt as James stepped over him. It means a lot to us and for us to go out there and play the way we did was embarrassing. "I was in between in Game 3".
It took three games, but the NBA Finals finally delivered a compelling, competitive contest.
They're now on the brink of back-to-back championships, and their first opportunity to close out their record-setting season in the only acceptable manner is set for Monday night on their home floor at Oracle Arena. Something tells us no one will remember that. "That team's hungry over there and they've got some all-time great players, so like I said before, there's not time to relax".
That conversation won't completely die down now, of course, but the Warriors being back on track again with Curry at the helm fits the storyline that has seemed so unstoppable for so many months now.
"With guys like that, you can't keep them down forever", Kerr said.
"We felt threatened", Kerr said.
This is how the Warriors won 73 games (not to mention a title last year). When the Cavs cut the lead to four midway through the fourth, Curry's driving layup and a three-pointer helped push the lead to 10. "In the first quarter, we took their first punch and came right back at them, did what we were supposed to do".