Well, all talks of history have been officially thwarted as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors last night to force a Game 5 and end the Warriors bid for a perfect postseason.

 

Unlike Game 3 where the Cavs got off to a fast start but couldn’t hold the lead, Game 4 was complete domination for the Cavs from start to finish.

 

To start the proceedings, the Cavs set a Finals and playoff record for most points in a quarter with 49 in the first last night to give them a 16 point lead right out of the gate.

 

This furious first quarter completely set the tone for how the entire game would flow with the Cavs drilling two three-pointers in their first two possessions and keeping the pressure on the usually vaunted Warriors defense who, much like Game 3, didn’t have many answers for the Cavs on the defensive end.

 

Per usual, LeBron James notched another triple-double while breaking two records in the process: One, he passed Michael Jordan to become the third greatest scorer and counting in NBA Finals history. Two, with his eighth triple-double in his Finals career he became the all-time leader in that category passing Magic Johnson. In addition, the triple-double once again included a 30 point performance which propels his total to four, also a record.

 

Another triple-double for James is customary as he will most likely become the first player in Finals history to average a triple-double, but that wasn’t the story this game. What allowed Cleveland to notch their first win in this series, and thus scathe off a sweep, was the fact that everyone else became involved.

 

(Star Tribune)

For the first time in the series, the Cavs played extremely well as a team where everyone contributed to their normal specifications.

 

We saw glimpses of this in Game 3 with Kyrie Irving finally breaking through offensively to the tune of nearly 40 points and Kevin Love showing some aggression on the backboards and offensive end. However, Game 4 saw the resurgence of J.R. Smith as a legitimate three-point threat, the added scoring of Love who knocked down six threes of his own, Kyrie Irving continuing his stellar offensive play with a 40 point game and a total team effort on the defensive end that kept the Warriors at bay.

 

One of the main factors was the fact that we were treated to a Tristan Thompson sighting for the first time in the series as he was clearly more tenacious on the backboards, grabbing offensive rebounds and creating extra possessions for the Cavs.

 

Overall, the Cavs benefitted from inspired play by all parties as well the less-than-inspired play by notable Warriors such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who all had sub-par games.

 

Now, all though it’d be hard pressed for the Cavs to come back from a 3-0 deficit, Games 3 and 4 were glimpses of how close this series should actually be.

 

Looking back to Game 3, the Cavs maintained a lead for much of the game and heading into the fourth, it looked as if they had the game in control. However, the Warriors got hot and the Cavs got cold from the field and a Kevin Durant three-pointer with 40 seconds left pretty much put a knife through the hearts of Cleveland. In Game 4, the heart of a champion showed within the Cavs as they clearly dominated the Warriors from start to finish.

 

What this shows is the fact that this series may not be as lopsided as the record would indicate. Yes, the Warriors are up 3-1, but in reality, had not the Cavs taken their foot off the gas pedal late in Game 3, this series could easily be tied up at 2 games apiece with an even more critical Game 5 ahead on Monday.

 

As it stands now, the series is at a 3-1 mark in favor of Golden State, giving them the chance to win their second championship in three years on their home floor. Reminiscent of last year when the Cavs were in this same predicament, the Warriors will be sure to play much more inspired basketball while the Cavs will have all the confidence in the world knowing that not only can they play with these guys, but that they have done the impossible before.

 

Why not try to do it again.

 

Do you think the Warriors will close the title put in Game 5? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.