Deron Williams buried one of Cleveland’s 24 3-pointers, and the Cavaliers showed they aren’t finished fighting for an NBA title in a Game 4 blowout.
The Cavs’ ended the Golden State Warriors’ hopes for a perfect 16-0 postseason, exploding for 49 points in the first quarter and 86 in the first half of a 137-116 victory. Deron was 2-for-3 from the field with five points as the Cavs showed their character, cruising to victory at The Q.
“Believeland is not going to give up,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, “and we’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to keep scrapping.”
Knowing their playoff lives were on the line, D-Will and the Cavs came out firing, hitting 7-of-12 from deep and shooting 58 percent in the first. It was a 49-point quarter and 16-point lead after one, but the Warriors punched back in the second, scoring eight straight early on to cut the Cavs lead to 11. Cleveland regained control by going on a 12-5 run that pushed their advantage to 69-49 with 5:37 left in the half.
Each time the Warriors threatened, the Cavs had an answer. After Golden State scored the first four points of the third to cut the lead to 14, Cleveland answered with back-to-back threes to regain a 20-point lead. Again at the end of the third, the Warriors trimmed their deficit to 12, and Deron checked in for Kyrie Irving late in the third quarter.
Golden State threatened to cut the Cleveland lead to single digits, but D-Will came through with a key layup on his first possession back on the floor to stretch it to 14 once again. After a Zaza Pachulia free throw, Kyle Korver made it 16 with a three, and Deron followed suit, splashing from distance to make it a 19-point lead, where it stood going into the fourth.
”Every game is do-or-die, and we understand that,” said Irving. “We’re ready to live in it. And it was great to see Kyle as well as Deron as well as T-Thomp just throw themselves in tonight’s game and understand the importance of it. This is The Finals, man. A minute here, four minutes here, a rebound here, maybe a tech or two here, it matters. They brought it tonight. I’m super proud of those guys, of all my teammates.”
The Warriors put in one final charge to start the fourth, scoring the first eight points of the quarter, but Irving put in five straight to calm the waters, and Golden State never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
The game was marked by physical play and featured a number of confrontations between players. Kevin Durant and LeBron James jawed with each other near center court during a break in play at one point and had to be separated. Pachulia was involved in multiple rebounding scrums, and power forward Draymond Green was nearly ejected after the scorer’s table misattributed a technical foul from the first half to him. The teams combined for 67 free throw attempts in the game.
For the Cavs, the win provided a glimpse of what it will take to continue to draw out the series. While the Cavs should not plan on using another night of historic shooting to beat the Warriors, they can plan to bring the same aggressiveness and effort they brought to Game 4.
Cleveland was able to hold Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to a combined 27 points on 8-of-24 shooting. The Cavs’ 86 first-half points and 24 treys came as NBA Finals records—and D-Will’s three late in the contest gave Cleveland the all-time mark.
The Cavs will continue to fight to keep their season alive on Monday night. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.