Game 4 Recap
108-97 was the score that propelled the Golden State Warriors to a 3-1 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers. NBA MVP Stephen Curry lead his team to victory with 38 points and 6 assist. Golden State forward Klay Thompson scored 25 points, Thompson and Curry did not score more than 20 points in any game, this series.
“All the slander,” forward Draymond Green said talking about Curry. “He’s a competitor. He’s been under a heavy microscope, and rightfully so. Two-time MVP, you’re expected to have a great game in the finals. He struggled the first three, tonight he was our guy.”
Green had 12 rebounds and 9 points during Friday’s nights win. Green during an brief altercation with Cavs forward LeBron James, hit James with a blow to the groin, after James stepped over him. Subsequently, Green has been issued a flagrant foul one and suspended for tonight’s game 5.
Green had previous altercation’s with Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the Western Conference Finals. Green appeared to kick Adams in the groin purposely, under review the NBA elected not to suspend Green.
“While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act,” NBA vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said. “The number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”
The 11 point victory has been the closest margin of victory for either team this series. Golden State won its first two games by 30 points, as well as the Cavs in game 3.
James and Irving combined for 59 points in the loss. Forward Kevin Love missed game 3’s win with a concussion, but was declared healthy for game 4. Love did not start the game, but play 25 minutes and scored 11 points.
Starting in his place was Richard Jefferson, a hero for the Cavs in their game 3 win. Jefferson played 24 minutes, and scored 11 points.
“I felt it was the right way,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We had just won a game by 30 points. We played well. So I just decided to stick with (Richard Jefferson).
Lue was fined $25, 000 for criticizing the referees, after game 4. The refs seemed to miss a number of fouls on both teams. Lue’s frustrations were centered around James
“He never gets calls,” Lue said Friday. “I mean, he attacks. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he’s one of the guys that attacks the paint every single play. And he doesn’t get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength and because of his power and guys bounce off of him. But those are still fouls, and we weren’t able to get them. But we’ve got to play through officiating.”
Teams with a 3-1 series lead in the NBA finals have a 32-0 record.
Game 5 Preview
In game 4 Curry and Thompson got back to their usual ways, with a big time scoring performance to help their team win. The Warriors have dominated the Cavs for most of this series, without the help for their two stars.
“Business as usual,” Curry said. “We answered the bell. We got back to who we are as a team.”
Those comments were made before Green’s suspension was announced, now the Warriors have to find a way to fill a huge void in their game plan.
Green provides the Warriors with leadership and toughness, to go along with a variety of scoring and rebounding.
“Draymond’s success is based on playing like that,”Center Andrew Bogut said. “He plays physical and chippy and he’s a talker. That’s what makes him who he is. It’s hard to tone that down when it’s in you. We don’t blame him for it.”
Expect Andre Iguodala to start in place of Green tonight, Iguodala was last years finals MVP. Iguodala usually provides big minutes and scoring for the Warriors as a substitution player, so the challenge for the Warriors will be to find another player to help from the bench.
The usage of Love will be an interesting aspect for tonight’s game. The Cavs are facing a win or go home scenario, and Love hasn’t played in many of the teams critical late game situations the entire season. That won’t start in the NBA Finals, Love could actually see less playing time tonight.
Game 4 was very physically, and filled with hard fouls. James and Curry shared an incident, when James yanked Curry by the arm to the floor. The physicality should continue tonight, since Cleveland appears to be outnumbered and out-coached.
Golden State 108 Cleveland 88
Even without Green, the Cavs are just no match for the Warriors in Oracle. Cleveland does not have enough reliable parts, where the Warriors have plenty of players looking to step-up in Green’s absence. Curry and Thompson will carry most the load for their team tonight, but Harrison Barnes could show up big as well.