CLEVELAND -- Down 3-0 in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had no room for error, and they played like it in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Friday night.
The Cavaliers set franchise and NBA Finals records for the most points in a quarter, 49, and used the momentum to post a 137-116 win over the Warriors.
“We slowed the game down within the realms of the way we were playing, but it was still high tempo,” Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving said. “We got to the free-throw line, we got in the bonus early, and then, we got some easy free throws and some easy ones.
“You include that with our pace, it was hard for them to keep up with us. It’s the first time all series, but we just kept attacking, kept attacking and understood that they were never going to quit.”
The Cavaliers come out firing, and by hitting five of their first nine shots, including three of their five three-point tries, took a 14-5 lead and forced the Warriors to burn their first timeout with 9:22 to play in the period.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith got things going when he caught a pass from small forward LeBron James and buried a three-pointer from the right wing. On Cleveland’s next possession, Irving pulled up for and knocked down a triple on the left wing, which gave the Cavaliers a 6-0 lead.
Irving was not done, as on Cleveland’s next trip down the floor, he hit a 14-foot fall-away jumper along the baseline over the reach of a Warriors defender.
James got into the scoring act when he made a layup despite getting pushed away from the hoop by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia. After celebrating the make with fans along the baseline, James calmly walked to the free-throw line and completed the three-point play.
The Cavaliers forced the Warriors into another timeout when Smith caught a pass from James in the left corner of the floor and knocked down his second triple of the game.
The three-point ball continued to be a weapon for the Cavaliers, as after making a layup earlier in the quarter, power forward Kevin Love took a pass from center Tristan Thompson following an offensive rebound and buried a corner triple.
Then, after making a pair of free throws, Love knocked down his second triple of the quarter, this one from the right wing with 7:37 to play. James earned his fourth assist of the quarter when Love connected on the long-distance shot.
Although the Warriors went on a scoring spurt to cut the Cavaliers’ lead down to six points, 31-25, Cleveland ended the quarter on an 18-8 run.
During the Cavaliers’ run, they got a pair of three-pointers, one each from Love and Irving, a driving layup from James and a host of free throws because of foul trouble plaguing much of Golden State’s starting five.
“We finally settled in, man,” Irving said. “It was about damn time for all of us just to really see what playing well as a group looks like against a great team like the Warriors. We understand who they have on their team and what they’re about and how established they are, but I think that in those three losses, we lost track of who we were at the time.
“We’re still a special team as well. We are here for a reason. We’re going against a juggernaut of a team, but we’re a juggernaut of a team, too. We have some special pieces, and that belief has to not only just be in from an individual, it has to come collectively. So getting one was a step in the right direction.”
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