Stress test: High-wire Cavaliers still alive in NBA Finals

The city of Oakland could be no longer, torched to a crisp by millions of memes.

Up 3-0, there certainly wasn't any real urgency or desperation in Steve Kerr's script.

The Cavs attempted 45 3's, only one more than in Game 3 when they connected on 12 of them.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and teammate Kyrie Irving (2) celebrate during the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Friday, June 9, 2017. Here are few things that would need to happen. Instead, the Cavs played their best game of the season, setting Finals records for most 3-pointers made (24), most points in any quarter (49) and in a half (86). This is what Cleveland can control. "At the end of the day, we want to just try to put ourselves in position to play another game". Over the past three years since James returned from Miami, the Cavs have handled injuries, constant scrutiny, drama - much of it self-inflicted- and even a midseason coaching change.

But if you're a Cav and you reject the notion that this series has already been decided, then you're of the belief that Game 4 was the last possible moment to swing into action.

The back-and-forth spilled over to the sidelines, where Cavs reserve Dahntay Jones received a technical foul in the second quarter when he wasn't even in the game for jawing with Kevin Durant. Hey, that's an ejection and an animated complaint away from a Game 7 suspension. We're trying to examine all hypotheticals here.

Todd Leebow, a CEO of a steel company and close friend of James associates Rich Paul and Maverick Carter, was sitting near Paul and Carter when he started jawing at Pachulia and several other Warriors players. And Zaza has been bad. "They show me how important I am to them".

But Green didn't leave the court, and referees said the technical they called after Green's foul with 1:55 remaining in the first quarter was on Kerr - though the official box score had it listed as Green. That's a good recipe to give yourself a chance. The Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors also had the most combined points in any half in Finals history and in the first half of playoffs history with 154 points.

OK, so we didn't get to see the first 16-0 championship run in National Basketball Association history.

While other teams fanbase might take that as a hopeless case, in the words of Kevin Love: "We've been here before".

And it was not lost on them that the Warriors wanted specifically to wrap up the Finals in Cleveland. It's the kind of pointed barb that will fall harmless as the confetti from the rafters if the Warriors take care of business and don't have to return to face those fans at The Q for a Game 6. They will be coming off their first loss with their starting five intact since February 2 and first loss of any kind since April 10. Keeping up with this offense is the name of the game. By game's end they had made 24 baskets from beyond the arc, seven by Irving, to break the championship series mark for three-pointers, as well. Williams is incredibly important to this team, as insane as it sounds. That's where the Cavaliers got 52.5 percent of their points: 72 of 137. Curry got it going with a mid-range shot to begin the scoring for the Warriors. This is the Cavaliers' defensive plan coming to fruition: double-team Curry, stay home on Thompson, and let Green shoot. James had 22 points, eight assists and six boards by intermission. The comeback attempt will be even more hard this year, but it's impossible to count the Cavaliers out given the otherworldly performances of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving when they're facing elimination. "It's a make-or-miss league at that point". But he never appeared to have the same explosiveness the rest of the way and it was never more evident than in the final minutes of their back-breaking Game 7 loss to the Cavs. They did it previous year, as James and Irving each scored 41 points in a 15-point win over the Warriors.

"We have a golden opportunity going home on Monday to close this thing out". It won't happen. Okay, it could happen.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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