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June 24 2017, 05:29 | Van Peters
Where in the past they would help off Thompson and he would exploit the space for put-backs and tap-outs, in the first three games of this series they stymied him by paying attention to him.
The Cavaliers and Warriors, who have tangled for three consecutive Junes, headed back to the West Coast on Saturday after Cleveland's record-setting 137-116 victory. No team in the history of the NBA Finals has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit.
It's unsafe, and not for the faint of heart.
Richard was on the seven-foot assassin nearly all game, which gave LeBron plenty of energy to drop his ninth career finals triple double, passing Magic Johnson for sole possession of first place. A big factor in this series was the problem of LeBron having to exert too much energy chasing Kevin Durant around on defense. But listen, at the end of the day we just got some resilient guys.
With the Cavaliers falling behind 0-3 to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, and the NBA Draft still a couple weeks away, what could spice things up around the league?
It's been done on big stages in other sports, perhaps most famously by the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who strung together four wins over the New York Yankees to win the AL pennant on the way to their first World Series title since 1918. They could rely on a turnover-prone team that lapses in concentration, an overamped Draymond Green in foul trouble, the same lax rotations, and what they truly need to see to win the series, a passive Stephen Curry. Zero and 126 is the record.
"We obviously know you can't just go home and expect to win", Curry said.
There remains much work to do for Cleveland, which still needs to beat Golden State three straight times, including twice in the insane environs of Oracle Arena, but at least they have a chance. "We have been in this situation before". Moreover, there is little resemblance between the team that took the floor for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals and the team that will walk into Oracle Arena Monday night for Game 5 of the 2017 Finals.
There doesn't seem to be anything that rattles them, so it should be no surprise that on the verge of being swept by a Warriors team James called a "juggernaut" and "beast" before the Finals began, Cleveland dug down deep again.
Only those who didn't see the vanishing Tristan Thompson make his first appearance like the monster rising out of Loch Ness with an electric jolt of a first quarter, J.R. Smith streaking in like a comet and Iman Shumpert become an inspiration by hustling, defender and giving up his, uh, game on the receiving end of another Golden State groin punch (Zaza Pachulia). They lost in the 2015 NBA Finals thanks to the absence of Irving and Kevin Love, but they bounced back with the win past year, and they had a good chance of defending. "There's nothing malicious or we didn't say anything malicious, it was just a part of the game". "We're ready to live in it".
Staring at a series defeat and a loss of defending champion status at home, the Cleveland Cavaliers came up with a record-breaking attacking performance right from tip-off, helping it snatch a game and to extend the series in 2017 National Basketball Association finals.
"I can't foresee them coming to Oracle and hitting 24 threes", Green said. Specifically, Kyrie Irving proved that he is a top tier point guard landing a huge 40 points in the game. "But we knew what we were faced with". But then you add, of course, some chatter in there, and that adds some extra motivation.
"No, they got us where they want us", LeBron James said. "I'll just leave it at that".
James, though, wouldn't concede the Cavs have the Warriors right where they want them.
"Believeland is not going to give up, and we're going to keep fighting", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.
Sunday should be a very emotional and physical game.