Friday night’s Game 4 was one for the ages. With the Cleveland Cavaliers on the brink of potentially getting swept and allowing the Golden State Warriors to celebrate a championship at Quicken Loans Arena and pop champagne in the visitor’s locker room for the second time, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and the rest of the wine and gold stepped up and played their best game of the Finals so far, while dominating the Warriors, 137-116.
With Game 5 set to tip off in roughly 11 hours, we wanted to relive some of the game’s best moments with you in video form.
Just 40 seconds after J.R. Smith began the scoring with a three, Kyrie Irving hit a three-pointer as well, erupting the 20,562 fans inside Quicken Loans Arena and giving the Cavs a quick 6-0 lead.
Whether it’s the matchups or just him being in a slump, Tristan Thompson has been somewhat disappointing so far in the series, but that all changed in Game 4. Will and determination can’t be taught, and the big man showed both Friday night. Whether it was guarding Steph Curry full court, getting both defensive and offensive rebounds, or just hustling more than his opponent, Thompson played much better. In this play, James missed a fadeaway, but due to the Canadian grabbing the offensive rebound, No. 23 was able to get an and-one.
The Cavs started off hot and continued to stay that way Friday night. In the first quarter, they set a Finals record with 49 (!) points. Here’s the top baskets from the opening quarter.
Richard Jefferson may be 36 years old, but he sometimes plays like a young, athletic guy. This time, it wasn’t a dunk, but after James found him wide open, RJ spun and found Love for a wide-open three. Quite an impressive pass, especially considering Jefferson had no idea where No. 0 was in the corner before spinning around.
For some reason, at the start of the second quarter, Klay Thompson didn’t feel the need to fight over (or under) a Thompson screen, which led to a deep three-pointer from Irving, who scored early and often.
Whether it was just to hit a three farther than Irving’s or just to show his true range, Smith felt the need to hit a deep three-pointer from the logo to beat the shot clock. How far you ask? Some consider it Pipe range. Let’s not forget James’ great pass to get it to Smith either. Still don’t understand how No. 23 even saw his teammate that far away, knowing that the shot clock was winding down.
Somehow, while not playing a single second until late in the fourth quarter with the win in the bag, Dahntay Jones found his way onto the box score by getting a technical foul on the bench for jawing with Kevin Durant. Although some seem to think that Durant started the trash talk, Jones has to be smarter than that. Luckily, it didn’t cost the Cavs.
Uncle Drew was somewhat unstoppable with his right hand Friday night, add in the fact that he was making left-handed floaters as well and he proved that he isn’t just a role player, like some people called him earlier in the season. Someone should make sure Irving isn’t ambidextrous.
Love isn’t known for his defense, but his steal here led to James getting yet another and-one layup.
Irving was on fire Friday night, whether it was beyond the arc or under the rim. This time, thanks to a screen from Iman Shumpert, No. 2 was able to get an and-one with a left-handed layup.
Following a beautiful behind-the-back pass from James to Thompson, the big man found a wide-open Love in the corner for a three. If only the NBA gave credit for hockey assists.
With no one to pass to, James (somehow) threw an alley oop to none other than himself. Something made for an All-Star game, unfurled, if even by accident, in an NBA Finals game.
Fake a pass to make a pass, right? A simple fake by James made Smith wide open in the corner for a three. Swish staring down the Warriors’ bench was the best part.
With just a minute left in the third quarter and the Cavs up 109-93, there was a little scuffle, like there had been throughout the series. But, this time, one of the Warriors decided to hit one of the Cavaliers below the belt. No, it wasn’t Draymond Green’s leg, but this time it was Zaza Pachulia punching Iman Shumpert below the belt. Somehow, this only led to both Pachulia and Shumpert receiving technicals and no further penalty on the Warriors starting center.
Klay Thompson getting screen by Tristan Thompson and allowing Irving to get an open look seemed to be impossible for the Warriors to guard throughout the game. Whether Klay went over or under the screen, No. 2 shot a three in his eye.
If Irving didn’t already prove that he may be ambidextrous, he had a left-handed floater yet again, to give the Cavs a 16-point lead with nine minutes left in the game.
The Cavs seemed to already have secured a win, but this three from No. 2 was the icing on the cake. If you can’t tell, both James and Uncle Drew were officially excited following No. 2’s dagger three-pointer.
With both team’s bench players in the game, the 20,562 fans in The Q had one important message, and one that Cavs fans hope comes to fruition a week from Sunday night: “Cavs in 7.”
Here are all 24 of the Cavs three-pointers in the game, which set a Finals record.