The Cavs were determined not to let the Warriors celebrate on their floor for the second time in three years, and it was Cleveland, not Golden State, which busted Finals scoring records in the first half.
The Warriors had planned to party, to pay back Cleveland. In addition, Cleveland set a NBA Finals record with 13 trifectas in the 1st half. The comeback Cavaliers are at it again. James recorded his ninth Finals triple double, passing Magic Johnson for No. 1 on the all-time list, and passed Michael Jordan for No. 3 on the all-time Finals scoring list.
And like that, after dreading this Finals series coming to a close with nothing but Warriors dominance to show for it, we suddenly have more basketball. and we're excited for it. Their 49 points in the first quarter was a new record for the most in NBA Finals history.
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the National Basketball Association playoffs.
In the end, Game 4 turned out to be the sort of affair in which the most explosive first-half performance in Finals history nearly became a footnote.
As the final seconds ticked off, Cleveland fans chanted "Cavs in 7". Had the Cavs been a little more efficient at the foul line, they could have breathed even easier. We're going against a juggernaut of a team, but we're a juggernaut of a team, too. Now, Golden State fans are holding their breath.
"I think it came from Draymond (Green, a Warriors forward), which is OK, that's Dray anyway". "So I just told guys, I didn't stress anything besides just live in the moment".
The Warriors received a subpar performance from starting guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined for just 27 points on 8 of 24 shooting. Not going to overreact to one. "I want to see how it feels to win at home", he said. James had 22 points, eight assists and six boards by intermission. After several minutes, James stopped and performed a dozen lunges before teammate Tristan Thompson came over and playfully asked, "What are you doing?"
"It was just an incredibly physical game", Kerr said. Kevin Love chipped in 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 on 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Cleveland hit a Finals-record 24 three-pointers and attempted 45 shots from beyond the arc. That's a four percent boost from the comparable game previous year, making it the third such game to grow from 2016. The two alpha males had plenty to say and neither backed down.
The Warriors got within 104-92 on Curry's foul shot with 2:38 left in a freakish third quarter that featured Draymond Green getting whistled for what appeared to be his second technical foul.
The referees said coach Steve Kerr received the technical in the first half, not Green.
Surprisingly, Pachulia was not called for a technical or flagrant foul. Instead, they had their doors blown off as the Cavaliers rolled to a 137-116 victory in front of a raucous crowd.
"I thought they called it on Draymond; I thought I deserved it", Kerr said of the first-quarter call. "You got to give them credit, they played extremely well tonight".
The Cavs continued to win each quarter from then on, making sure that Golden State could never really get back into the game. The two exchanged angry words at half court for several minutes during the third quarter, adding to the drama of an already intense game.