We’re Going Back to Cali: NBA Finals Game 4 Behind the Box Score

LeBron James dunk Game 4 NBA Finals
Scott Sargent/WFNY

Cleveland Cavaliers 137
Golden State Warriors 116
[Box Score]

Technical fouls were administered. Fans were ejected. Nuts, once again, were punched. Things got tense during multiple stages of Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals, but in the end it was the Cavaliers’ barrage of three-point shooting and incredible runs that forced a Game 5, the Cavaliers winning by a final score of 137-116.

The Cavs started out with an absolute blitz in the first half, setting scoring records for both a quarter and a half. The Warriors responded with a blitz of technical fouls that led to one of the most questionable periods of officiating in recent memory. After Golden State’s Draymond Green was assessed what was to believed to have been his second technical foul—the Quicken Loans Arena in-game operations folks played “Hit the Road Jack” over the sound system—the officials switched the first quarter technical to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Later, during a tie-up near the Cavaliers’ free throw line, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia appeared to have punched Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert in the groin. The play went to review, but the result was both players being administered technical fouls. During the video review, a Cavalier fan—and close friend of LeBron James and Rich Paul—was ejected for jawing with Golden State’s Matt Barnes.

“Mike Callahan told me that the first one they called was on Steve Kerr,” said Cavs head coach Ty Lue following the game. “And I said, well, it’s right here on the sheet that it was on Draymond, and our scorers people said the same thing. But evidently he said no, it was on Steve Kerr, the first one.”

Kerr would follow up with the notion that he thought both fouls were on Draymond at the time, but that he felt he deserved the first one. NBA Officials released a statement taking responsibility for the miscommunication, stating they should have done a better job of communicating the first technical foul to the scorers table in addition to listening to the team’s Public Address announcer. In the end, neither would prove to do much outside of fueling a Quicken Loans Arena crowd that rained down with “Draymond Sucks” chants throughout the night.1

As has been the case for the series, the Cavs were led by LeBron James (31 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) and Kyrie Irving (game-high 40 points, seven rebounds, four assists), but finally received help from the supporting cast. Kevin Love added 23 points and five boards, J.R  Smith added 15 points (5-of-9 from deep), and Tristan Thompson had his arrival to the NBA Finals, recording five points and 10 rebounds (four offensive). In a game that featured 253 points scored, only 17 of them were through fastbreak opportunities as there were 84 three-pointers and 67 free throws attempted throughout the raucous evening.

“That’s part of who we are,” said LeBron James postgame. “We set a lot of records since we kind of assembled this team the last couple years. And that’s just part of who we are. We got guys that can stretch the floor, make big shots, and they did it tonight, from Ky, Kevin, and Swish, and everybody else chipped in as well.”

The Cavs had been in a rut, shooting some of the worst percentages from deep throughout the entire season over the NBA Finals’ first three games. With their backs against the wall, they came out swinging in the first half, hitting three fewer threes (13) than the Warriors were able to take (16). While many will pin the Cavs’ energy level to such things as adveristy, the message was made clear by several of the team’s players who mentioned “chatter” by Golden State prior to the game (about drinking champagne in the road locker room).

“It’s part of the game, I understand that, but we knew what we were faced with,” said Irving. “That was what it was. But then you add, of course, some chatter in there, and that adds some extra motivation. And you give us a day in between, and we were ready to come out. Especially me, because that taste wouldn’t have been the same if we would have lost tonight and they would have celebrated on our home floor.

“Social media is everywhere. I mean, social media is just — it raises the bar, especially the attention that goes on with it. So we see everything. I’ll be sitting up here lying saying that I didn’t see it.I relish in that challenge. I know my teammates do as well. So it’s been going back and forth all season, and now we’re in The Finals and everything is just pinpointed. But definitely heard the chatter.”

Irving had taken the Game 3 loss extra hard due to his missed three pointer in the late stages of the fourth quarter, dwelling on the shot into the next day’s film session. His shot had evaded him for the entire evening, but appeared to return at an opportune time as the Cavs’ point guard seemingly couldn’t miss from long range.

“It’s the Finals,” said Thompson. “Guys are going to talk . We’re going to respond, but they aren’t going to punk us. You got the game fucked up with that one. You can talk all you want, but I’m definitely going to bark back. That’s how I’m built.”

That the series should be tied at two games a piece is a tough pill to swallow if you’re a Cavaliers fan. That the Golden State Warriors didn’t sweep the series and that there will be a Game 5 on Monday, however, should make for a great weekend in Cleveland.

48 — The number of minutes the Cleveland Cavaliers were winning Game 4.

49 — The Cavaliers’ first quarter point total, setting an NBA record for most points scored in a quarter of NBA Finals play. The Cavs shot an identical percentage from three (7-of-12, .583) as they did from the floor in total (14-of-24, .583). They got to the line an insane 22 times in the first 12 minutes.

56 — What the Cavaliers would have had in the first quarter if not for missing seven of said free throws. LeBron missed three, Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert missed two, and Kyrie Irving uncharacteristically missed one.

59.1 — The Cavaliers’ percentage on uncontested field goals compared to the Warriors’ mark of 26.7. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant combined to go 3-of-15 without a defender within six feet of their attempts.

1 – One amazing alley oop from LeBron James to…LeBron James. In an NBA Finals game.

$127 — Dahntay Jones’ gross income for the 2016-17 season. Slated to make $9,127, Jones recorded his third technical foul early in second quarter (from the bench, mind you), costing him another $3,000. Considering he’ll be taxed on the full amount, this is beyond impressive.

2 — The number of technical fouls Draymond Green was given. He would go on to play another quarter and a half, finishing out the game with the weirdest swap of rules I’ve ever seen in an NBA game.

24 — The new NBA record for three-pointers made in an NBA Finals game. The Cavs also set a record with 13 threes in the first half. In total, ther have been 11 instances in NBA postseason history where a team has made at least 20 threes—the Cavs have five of them.

28 — The number of points Kyrie Irving had in the first half, tying a franchise record set by LeBron James earlier this postsseason. In that half, he went 11-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from three-point range.

19 — James’ triple-double was the 19th of his NBA Finals career and the ninth of this very postseason, an NBA record. In the series, he’s averaging a triple-double with 31.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 10.8 assists.

2,400 — The number of miles the team will travel back to Oakland for Game 5. Catch you all Monday.

  1. There were also “Russell Westbrook” and “Cavs in Seven”. []