12:02 a.m.-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS TOP GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS IN GAME 4 OF NBA FINALS
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.
11:23 p.m.-CAVALIERS LEAD WARRIORS, 115-96, AFTER THIRD QUARTER
CLEVELAND -- 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 Cleveland Cavaliers outscored the Golden State Warriors by a point, 29-28, in the first 12 minutes 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 small forward LeBron 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 power forward Kevin Love, who buried two of his three looks from deep in the period.
Additionally, the Cavaliers got three-pointers from shooting guard J.R. Smith, point guard Kyrie Irving and James, as well as Williams and reserve sharp-shooter Kyle Korver in the third quarter.
10:25 p.m.-CAVALIERS UP BY 18 AT THE HALF
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers continued to shoot the basketball well from three-point range in the second quarter, and it led to an 86-68 halftime lead over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Friday night.
The Cavaliers connected on six of their 10 three-pointers in the second quarter, including two each from small forward LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving, who totaled 14 and 17 points, respectively, in the period.
Early in the second quarter, the Warriors twice cut the deficit down to 12 points or less, but the Cavaliers continued their hot-shooting from three-point range, and also, got the transition game going because of Irving and James’ ability to create off the dribble.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith got a 15-6 Cavaliers run started when he caught a pass from James near the center-court “C” logo and confidently stepped into an off-balance three-pointer. Smith brought the fans in The Q to their feet when he buried the triple and gave the Cavaliers a 60-45 lead.
After the three-pointer, the Cavaliers got baskets on four straight possessions before the Warriors called for a break in the action.
James got a driving dunk and Irving hit a pull-up jumper from just inside the free-throw line. From the top of the key, Irving knocked down a contested three-pointer, and James followed up with a driving jumper. James’ two-pointer gave the Cavaliers a 20-point edge on the scoreboard, 69-49, with 5:37 to play in the half.
Then, Irving went into “Uncle Drew” mode, putting his ball-handling skills on display and getting into the interior of Golden State’s defense and burying jumpers from five and nine feet out to push the lead back to 18 points.
Over the final four-plus minutes of the first half, the Cavaliers and Warriors each scored 15 points.
9:51 p.m.-CAVALIERS PLAYING LIKE TEAM WITH NO ROOM FOR ERROR
CLEVELAND -- Down 3-0 in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had no room for error, and they played like it over the first quarter of Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena Friday night.
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.
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 the next possession, Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving pulled up for a triple on the left wing, which gave Cleveland 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 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.
8:00 p.m.-GAME INFORMATION
CLEVELAND -- If the Cleveland Cavaliers are to extend their postseason by another game, coach Tyronn Lue believes they must build off of their Game 3 effort heading into an elimination contest against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland tonight.
To Lue, the Cavaliers showed plenty of heart and effort in Game 3, despite not being able to close out the win, and instead, surrendering 11 straight points to the Warriors, who earned a 118-113 come-from-behind victory and took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I liked the way we competed,” Lue said. “I thought we played hard. I thought we really scrapped, but we just have to clean up a few mistakes. Fouling teams in the penalty, offensive rebounds, getting back in transition, things like that, but for our overall grit and toughness, I liked the way we competed.”
Last summer, the Cavaliers made history when they won twice at Oracle Arena in Oakland, where the Warriors lost only three times previously between the regular season and postseason, and overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Now, this season, the Cavaliers have another chance at history, as they would be the first team ever to overcome an 0-3 deficit in the NBA Finals.
“It's a step in the right direction,” Lue said of what a Game 4 win would mean to the Cavaliers. “We're not going to give in. We're going to keep competing. We had a chance to win, and if we come out with the fight and intensity that we played with last game, clean up a few mistakes, then we have a chance to win on Friday. So by no means are we giving in. We're going to be ready to play on Friday.”
The Cavaliers did not score a point over the final three-plus minutes of Game 3, and a late spurt from small forward Kevin Durant gave the Warriors the win.
As the clock ticked under a minute, Warriors small forward Kevin Durant secured a defensive rebound and dribbled the ball over to the left wing, where he pulled up and knocked down a 26-foot three-pointer, which gave Golden State a 114-113 lead over the Cavaliers.
Then, Durant and point guard Stephen Curry closed out the game with two free throws each.
“We made some mistakes coming down the stretch that we know we have to be better with,” Lue said. “We talked about this before, but you can't make these mistakes against this team. They're too good. Every time you make a mistake, they make you pay.
“We have to be better in our execution down the stretch. But like I said, overall our fight and the way we competed was great. So if we come out with that same effort on Friday, I feel confident we can get a win.
“That's the toughest part about this team. Against other teams, you can make these mistakes, but against them, you cannot. And every time you do, they make you pay. So just have to clean up those things, and we'll be fine.”
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