Cavaliers in same position as last year, but challenge tougher vs. Warriors

Doug Mendoza
June 11, 2017

After 137-116 in Game 4, the ESPN stat geeks now give LeBron James and his band of merry followers a one percent of winning the Finals, which is about the same odds as pulling a carrot out of the dirt and getting it elected to high office.

This season, the Warriors were the league's best 3-point defense, holding teams below 33 percent.

Some variation of those words was written or uttered somewhere nearly one year ago.

Golden State still leads the best-of-seven title series 3-1 and can claim the trophy at home tomorrow. The Cavaliers won the next three games and the championship. In all, five players committed technical fouls in the third - James and Iman Shumpert from the Cavaliers and Kevin Durant, Green and Zaza Pachulia from the Warriors. And LeBron James, in a feat of pride, would not get swept in the Finals again, and not by his greatest foe.

Warriors, who are known for their 3-point proficiency, shot only 28% going 11-for-39. We did that, and hopefully we can do it Monday night.

Durant left Oklahoma City last July to join Golden State hoping to become a champion. "No matter what you need to inspire you, whatever you need to grab ahold of, chalkboard material, whatever it happens, like it's so hard to win a championship, and kudos to them for finding whatever it took to play an unbelievable game, which they did".

The Warriors, meanwhile, are already saying the right things. That's up 5 percent from a 12.0 for last year's Game 4 between the same teams.

Curry said he didn't have an answer for the question, and Durant stepped in to offer some advice for the reporter. It is going to be hard because the Warriors team is better than they were past year.

"We obviously know you can't just go home and expect to win", Curry said. Quiet and nonconfrontational as he is, Curry owns the most important voice on the team, and he's the Warriors' most responsible leader.

"The last two games we've played Cavaliers basketball. So, but I'll be better in Game 5". "You can talk all you want but I'm definitely going to bark back". "But we'll go tee it up again".

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Five-times major victor Phil Mickelson is also four back, while former world No.1 Adam Scott trails by five. Cabrera Bello, Cink and Crane are the trio to beat at nine under through 54 holes in Memphis , Tennessee.

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But that's up for them to decide. "But my thinking is also that we haven't actually fired properly as yet, which is a good thing". Of course, the world loves a headlining double-act, and they've decreed that De Villiers vs Kohli is the most apt.

Through three games, the series was averaging roughly 20 million viewers per game, up 11 percent over past year. Draymond Green got a first-quarter technical foul, then he got a third-quarter technical that elicited perhaps the loudest cheer of the night from a sold-out crowd that hates him, only to have his first technical foul reassigned to Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

"We'll bounce back", Green said.

"You have an opportunity to sign one of the best players, and you can do it, go ahead and do it", said James.

And as for those of you still complaining about the Warriors adding all-world talent Kevin Durant to their 73-win team in the offseason: huh? I want to see how it feels to win at home. Got to come out with some fire and get it done.

JEH JEH PRUITT: Thank you for having me. The Cavaliers scored 49 points in the first period. Richard Jefferson and J.R. Smith really became the X-factors in this do-or-die Game 4. The "Draymond sucks" chants that were there in Game 3 and 4, it's safe to assume, would be child's play by comparison.

But Irving mentioned it and James said some players in the locker room had it on their minds.

Irving's performance in Friday's win saved the Cavs from the ignominy of being swept in the best-of-seven affair, and halted Golden State's quest for the first flawless post-season in National Basketball Association history. In Game 3 we just - down the stretch we couldn't make any shots, and they did. "We set a lot of records since we assembled this team the last couple years".

James has grown accustomed to being in this situation, but he wishes the Cavaliers would stop backing themselves in a corner.

"I didn't stress anything besides just live in the moment", he said. I'm stressed out. Keep doing this every year. And when you've got great teammates like I do who allow me to play with my emotions and be emotional when I'm talking to them, to use my emotions to the better for us, it's easy.

The Warriors aren't just looking for another championship. We have reason to believe they can.

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