Cavs end Warriors’ bid for perfection
Cleveland cuts deficit to 3-1 behind James’ triple-double, Irving’s 40 points
The Associated Press
CLEVELAND — The Golden State Warriors’ perfect postseason is over.
The Cleveland Cavaliers denied the bid for another sweep, and now are hoping to put together a second straight history-making comeback.
Just like last year, the NBA Finals are at 3-1 after four games.
LeBron James recorded a triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 40 points and the Cavs broke a bundle of records while outperforming the NBA’s most electrifying offense in a testy Game 4 filled with technical fouls, ending up with a 137-116 victory on Friday that snapped the Warriors’ 15-game postseason winning streak.
“We have championship DNA,” said James, who finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and broke Magic Johnson’s record with his ninth triple-double in the Finals. “We showed that tonight. We just kept our composure. We shared the ball, we moved the ball and defensively we were physical.”
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs.
Of course, until the Cavs did it last year, no team had ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the Finals. Cleveland lost Game 4 of that series, then won the final three — with Game 7 in Oakland — for Cleveland’s first sports championship since 1964.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his players aren’t worried about the past.
“I don’t think there was any concern or thoughts about history,” Kerr said. “I think it was we played a desperate team on their home floor, a great team, with great players, and they came out and handed it to us.”
Golden State will be home for Game 5 on Monday.
Twice in NBA history has a team lost just one postseason game on the way to a title — the Los Angeles Lakers went 15-1 in 2001, and the Philadelphia 76ers went 12-1 in 1983.
Irving hit seven 3-pointers and Kevin Love had six on the way to 23 points. The Cavs’ 24 total 3-pointers set another Finals mark, as did their 86 first-half points.
Golden State’s Kevin Durant, still one win from the coveted championship he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to get, scored 35 points, but Stephen Curry had just 14.
In the third quarter, the Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia was involved in a pileup of players and delivered two swipes to Iman Shumpert’s groin area as the referees tried to get control. Pachulia and Shumpert each received technical fouls. As that was sorted out, Todd Leebow, a friend of James who was sitting in the stands, got in an argument with Golden State’s bench and was asked to leave.
Earlier, it was announced that the Warriors’ Draymond Green had been given his second technical foul and security came onto the floor to usher him to the locker room. However, a technical assessed to Green in the first half had actually been called on Kerr.
James and Durant were each called for one of the game’s seven technicals as well.