CLEVELAND -- There will be a tomorrow for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Facing elimination after losing the first three games of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers summoned the fight of a defending champion and hustled their way to a 137-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Friday night.
With the win, the Cavaliers forced a Game 5 against the Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Monday night.
The Cavaliers got a monumental effort from the starting lineup, as four of the starters reached double figures in scoring and combined 109 of the team’s 137 points.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving scored 40 points on 15-of-27 shooting, including a seven-of-12 performance from three-point range, which came on the heels of an 0-for-7 showing from long distance in the Game 3 loss Wednesday night.
Irving added seven rebounds, four assists and one steal in 40 minutes of action.
In addition to Irving, the Cavaliers got a record-setting triple-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists from small forward LeBron James. With his performance, James passed Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson for the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history (nine).
Power forward Kevin Love tallied 23 points, and 18 of those markers came from three-point range, where he was six of eight. Shooting guard J.R. Smith was almost as effective from long distance, as he buried five of his nine looks from beyond the arc.
As a team, the Cavaliers converted 24 of their 45 three-point attempts (53.3 percent), and set NBA Finals records for three-pointers made (24), points in a quarter (49) and in a half (86) on the way to the victory, one in which they led from their first shot to the finish.
Down 3-0 in the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers had no room for error, and they played like it over the first quarter of Game 4 against the Warriors.
The Cavaliers set a franchise and NBA Finals record for the most points in a quarter, 49, and took a 49-33 lead over the Warriors after the first 12 minutes of play.
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 with 9:22 to play in the period, which forced the Warriors to burn their first timeout.
Smith got things going when he caught a pass from James and buried a three-pointer from the right wing. On Cleveland’s next possession, Irving pulled up for 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, 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 in the quarter. James earned his fourth assist of the quarter when Love connected on the long-distance shot.
Although the Warriors went on a scoring run to cut the Cavaliers’ lead down to six points, 31-25, with 3:33 to play in the period, Cleveland ended the quarter on an 18-8 spurt.
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.
During a hectic third quarter, where multiple technical fouls were administered to both teams for extra-curricular activities in play and after the whistle, the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors by a point, 29-28, out of the halftime break.
After Golden State chipped away at the deficit and got it down to 12 at one point, back-to-back three-pointers from reserve point guard Deron Williams and James in the final minute of the third quarter staked the Cavaliers out to the 19-point lead, 115-96, after 36 minutes play.
Much like the first half, the Cavaliers kept shooting well from three-point range, knocking down seven of their 11 looks from beyond the arc in the third quarter, led by a pair of triples from Love, who buried two of his three looks from deep in the period.
Additionally, the Cavaliers got three-pointers from Smith, Irving and James, as well as Williams and reserve sharp-shooter Kyle Korver in the third quarter.
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