Friday, June 9, 2017

NBA: Cavaliers avert sweep in hot-shooting, record-breaking Game 4

When LeBron James’ path to the basket was immediately sealed off in one play in the 2nd quarter, he somehow found JR Smith lingering near the half-court circle.

James then whipped a pass to Smith, who buried the 3-pointer off-balance as 2 defenders charged at him.

In one sequence, that was the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 — when it seems like there’s nowhere to go, they find a way to pull off a win.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 40 points with 7 3-pointers, and James added 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 137-116 in Cleveland on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) for their first win of the NBA finals, a game that was testy, emotionally charged and a lot of times dizzying.

And it took a high-powered performance in the 1st half led by James and torrid shooting never before seen at this stage of the season led by Irving and Love to put this series in eerily familiar territory — it’s now 3-1.

Game 5 is in Oakland on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time)

The Cavaliers made the Warriors work on every possession, and on offense they made shots — a ton of them, from everywhere on the floor and however which way.

By the end of the 1st quarter, Cleveland scored 49 points, the most in NBA finals history. The Cavaliers’ 86 points at the half were a record, too.

When the game was done, Cleveland finished with 24 3-pointers, 6 more than the previous record made by the Warriors earlier this series.

A history-making night like this wouldn’t be complete without James leaving a personal mark. His 9th career triple-double in the NBA finals overtook Magic Johnson in the all-time list.

Kevin Love contributed 23 points and 6 3-pointers for Cleveland, while JR Smith, largely quiet this series, finally awoke making 5 3-pointers for 15 points.

While James and co. found the net with ease, the Warriors shooters slumped, making only 11 of 39 3-pointers (28.2%).

Kevin Durant finished with 35 points, while Steph Curry settled for only 14 making just 4 of 13 from the field.