NBA Finals Game 4: Cavaliers to triumph in low scoring series leveller
Robbie Purves | June 10, 2016
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors
- NBA Conference Finals
- Thursday, June 12th
- Tipoff: 02:00 BST
- Q Arena, Cleveland
Oakland outfit out to avenge Cleveland mauling
Reigning NBA Champions Golden State Warriors were taken apart by a resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers side, cutting the series deficit in half.
Smothering defensive work and an aggressive scoring attack inspired by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving lifted Cleveland back into the NBA Finals with a 120-90 rout of defending champion Golden State.
The teams have averaged 196.7 points over the series and Coral have them 7/4 to score under 200.
Cavaliers will look to even the series against the Golden State in game four and, with their perfect 8-0 playoff home record this term, could easily do it if they yet again silence Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Their eight straight wins at The Q is the longest home winning streak in franchise postseason history, and will be in no danger of snapping it if the Wine and Gold perform the way they did in game three.
Cavs silence shooting sensation
Cavs have now held Curry to three straight sub-20-point games. For a man that was just voted the first ever unanimous MVP, this isn’t good enough. The problem with Curry is, when his shooting stroke is off, he actually offers very little – he isn’t a particularly good defender, nor an elite creator.
However, huge credit needs to go to coach Tyronn Lue and the way he smothered danger. Unlike games one and two when Cleveland focused everything on Curry and Thompson and left wide open looks for Draymond Green, Cavaliers didn’t try and double or trap them. Instead, the Ohio outfit spread their attention out and it worked wonders.
If Warriors stand a stance in game four, they need to toughen up and grab rebounds. Cavs dominated the boards, recording 52 to Golden State’s 32.
Dubs coach Steve Kerr called his team “soft” after their defensive collapse, and the players seemed to agree with their him. When they spoke to the media the following day Curry said: “We were soft, they were more physical, they were more purposeful about what they were doing.”
Many critics claimed that last year Warriors cantered to a championship after Cavs were plighted by injury. Now it’s time for them to toughen up and show the grit and desire that saw them overcome Oklahoma City Thunder in the Conference Finals.
Again, all eyes will be on LeBron and Andre Iguodala. Four-time MVP James, was shackled by Iguodala back in June of 2015 and failed to shake them off until game three this month. ‘King James’ was an unstoppable force and even his nemesis couldn’t stop him registering 32 points last match.
Tyronn Lue will hope Curry doesn’t have a breakout evening and his Splash Brother, Thompson, fails to catch fire on both ends of the floor.
Green could also bounce back from a disappointing six-point game, and continue to be the Oakland outfits heartbeat. The enigmatic forward can do it all and can be relied upon when threes aren’t falling, to create some sort of inside presence to rival Tristan Thompson.
However, don’t be surprised if we see another dominant night by LeBron and resisters a triple double, the problem is, can his supporting cast produce what they did in their last encounter? Irving flew out the traps and set the tone for the rest of the Wine and Gold, finishing the game with 30 points while JR Smith notched 20.
Whatever happens, it will set up an intriguing clash heading to Oakland; either Dubs could line up a series finale at the Oracle, or Cavs dig deep and level the series, providing the city of Cleveland with a much needed sporting triumph that has eluded them for decades.