Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Cavs Are a Team With Nothing to Lose, and They Played as Such in Game 4

After earning a 3-0 lead in impressive fashion going into Game 4, the question is no longer whether the Warriors will win the championship or not, but when will they win it.  Regardless of the result of the game, nothing would really change – the Golden State Warriors are going to be the 2016-2017 champions.  Hence, the Cavaliers had nothing to lose in Game 4.  Might as well go supernova in the first quarter without concerning themselves about reserving energy for the home stretch.  And their attitude paid off.  They scored a Finals-record 49 points in the first quarter – resulting into 86 at the half, another Finals record.  The resulting lead was insurmountable enough for the Dubs to catch up to.

The Cavs had a tremendous game.  Hot shooting and energetic physicality and horrendous officiating really came through for them.  And they executed amazing plays like this…
That sweet pass from LeBron deserves to be a stat.  We need another boxscore category to document it, like "assist to an assist" or something.
Kevin Love shot 6-of-8 behind the arc, making up for his poor Game 3 performance.  LeBron had a triple-double and was +35.  But the hero for the Cavs was Kyrie Irving – 40 points on 56% shooting, 7-of-12 from three-point land.  And the most significant contribution the Cavs got from him was during the 4th quarter, when he killed the momentum for a seemingly developing Dubs comeback in which they were crawling towards nearly cutting the Cavs’ lead within striking distance.
With the ever-tenacious defender Klay Thompson on him, he made this big bucket.
Then he made this shot, which prompted Steve Kerr to raise the white flag.

Meanwhile, the Dubs were bad.  During the first quarter, in which they were savagely owned by the Cavs, they were sluggish and jittery.  It seems the pressure of being one win away from a perfect playoff run compromised them.  Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson ended up with a cold shooting night (combined for just 8-of-24).  Eventual Finals MVP (still) Kevin Durant scored 35, but out of 9-of-22 shooting.  Never really had a notable highlight from them, save for maybe when Draymond Green reveled and bobbed his head to “Draymond sucks!” chants.
He's such a sassy, entertaining d-bag.  He would make a great WWE heel.
The Dubs will get their rings eventually.  But considering that the Dubs blew a 3-1 lead in last year’s Finals, the perfect revenge scenario for them would have been sweeping the Cavs, earning a 16-0 playoff record, and adding insult to injury by winning the championship at Quicken Loans Arean.  But these were foiled by the Cavs.  Winning the championship would still be glorious, but it would no longer be as “special” if they had won Game 4.

This should be over in Game 5.  This isn’t the same Dubs team last Finals that blew a 3-1 lead.  They are healthy, and they have Kevin Durant.  However, if Adam Silver dictates the refs to extend the Finals the Cavs actually managed to win that, then it would give legitimacy to the “Warriors blowing a 3-0 lead” movement.

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