Irving scored 40 points and LeBron James added 31 with 11 assists and 10 rebounds to power the Cavaliers over Golden State 137-116 Friday, averting what would have been a historic win and NBA Finals sweep for the Warriors. And after Golden State dominated the first two games in this series, and then managed to come from behind and win Game 3, the Warriors now return home with the first shred of doubt in their minds in these playoffs. Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi might want to get in one last toast, with a nod to the dearly departed Catfish Hunter.
When Draymond Green is playing center, the Warriors can switch every screen. Stephen Curry. JaVale McGee. That creates openings for the Cavs.
"We like the fact that we can correct a lot of things going into Game 5 and just put a better foot forward, especially in that first quarter and not lose the game right there". The first three games, helping guys up off the floor, smiling, talking to guys and - yeah, I didn't like that.
I took a look at LeBron James' salary, Steph Curry's salary, Kyrie Irving's salary, and the career earnings for the rest of both teams and made some graphs.
It's not easy to stop Irving in those situations. That drew the attention of all three of the Warriors' weak-side defenders.
"Obviously I can play better and want to play better and will play better".
Green warned that extra motivation is little help at this stage.
However, it turned out that it was Green's first technical. "Not going to overreact to one".
It escalated late in the third after a scramble to the floor for a loose ball led to a jump ball.
If the Warriors can close out the tough-to-eliminate Cavs on Monday, they would become the first Bay Area team to capture a championship at home since the A's finished the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1974 World Series. McGee has been the pick-and-roll defender on 13 possessions, according to SportVU.
Durant has averaged 34.3 points on 52.3 percent shooting to contribute to the team's lead over the Cavs.
Irving (7 of 12), Kevin Love (6 of 8) and J.R. Smith (5 of 9) were all hot from 3-point range in the stunning turnaround. "They don't just lay down and die", Durant said. McGee hasn't played much, but with the Warriors finally dealing with some urgency, it might be time to strike his minutes from the rotation and play more with Green or Kevin Durant at center.
James said after Game 3 that it takes an A-plus-plus game to beat the Warriors, and the Cavs delivered one Friday. Cleveland's Iman Shumpert stood over Pachulia and tried to grab the ball after the whistle. At this point, I'm not mad or anything, but I'm just saying at this point in the Finals, I'm trying to stay where we are. Average price for tickets sold on a first-come, first-served basis Saturday went for $575 to $975.
"Like I said before, [the Warriors] create so many different problems, so much firepower, that we always have to play great in order to win", James said.
The Warriors' Draymond Green is all smiles as he speaks to the media following practice for Game 5.
Here the Cavs are again. If he can't - and if Golden State somehow allows Cleveland to get a second straight win - this series, which clearly seemed over, will suddenly be anything but.