CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have become known for using their hustle and physicality to generate extra possessions and put their opponents into foul trouble early in games, and that is exactly what happened against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena Friday night.
The Cavaliers drew 12 fouls against Golden State in the first quarter, and on the strength of a 49-point first quarter, rode the momentum to a 137-116 victory over the Warriors, which forced the best-of-seven series back to Oracle Arena in Oakland for Game 5 Monday night.
“We just knew we had to make it physical,” Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love said. “We knew that’s part of who we are, but I feel like we say that every game.
“We took it to them first, and that was very telling for the rest of the game. We felt like that got (going), and then, playing very physical, there were a lot of fouls on both sides, but that’s part of it. We feel like that should be part of the game.”
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue added, “We had a total team effort. It was a total team effort, but I thought we really brought a physicality to the game. We had a purpose and we cut down some of our mistakes we have been making those first three games and were able to play well.”
Cleveland held a 41-40 edge in rebounding, including a 30-24 advantage on the defensive end of the floor, and also, used its relentless pursuit of the basketball to turn 12 Golden State turnovers into 18 points.
The Cavaliers pulled down 11 offensive rebounds, and in turn, scored 21 second-chance points, where they had a 21-16 edge.
“That team has so much firepower that it’s tough to say that you can figure them out,” Love said. “They have so many weapons and they’re so well coached that we know that they’re going to make some adjustments, and we’re going to have to do the same.
“They’re a team that is extremely tough to guard, and we felt like we forced them into a lot of tough shots, but they still got into their actions and got a lot of good looks.”
Maligned for much of the first three games of The Finals for his lack of production, both in scoring and rebounding, Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson got going in Game 4.
Thompson made two of his three attempts from the field and one of his two free throws, but more importantly, had five assists and pulled down 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive end of the floor.
“Oh, he found (it),” Love said. “It wasn’t just me on the perimeter, but he was catching the ball, being aggressive and really finding guys.
“I think when Tristan is so active and being who he is, and that’s one of if not the best offensive rebounder of the game, and a guy that brings energy every, single night, I mean, it’s tough to fail when you play that hard. So good things are going to happen, and we saw that out of Tristan.”
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