War­riors re­bound, rout Cavs 103-82, even fi­nals

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY BRIAN MA­HONEY

Golden State held LeBron James score­less in the fourth quar­ter and pulled away for a 103-82 win at Cleve­land on Thurs­day to tie the NBA Fi­nals at 2-2. An­dre Iguo­dala scored 22 points in a sur­prise start, league MVP Stephen Curry also had 22, and Dray­mond Green re­turned to form with 17 points, seven re­bounds and six as­sists as the War­riors avoided go­ing down to a per­ilous 3-1 se­ries deficit.

“Tonight we came in with the men­tal­ity that we had to win this game,” said Curry.

James scored 20 points — 21 un­der his av­er­age in the se­ries — with 12 re­bounds and eight as­sists, and to make mat­ters worse for Cleve­land’s megas­tar, he needed stitches to his head af­ter fall­ing onto a TV cam­era in the first half.

Game 5 is Sun­day at Oak­land’s ram­bunc­tious Or­a­cle Arena, where the teams split two over­time games last week. This wasn’t quite make-or-break for the War­riors, but it was close, as none of the 32 teams which have fallen be­hind 3-1 in the fi­nals has won a ti­tle.

“We played des­per­ate out there, man,” Klay Thomp­son said. “We played real hun­gry. It was just awe­some to come out here and im­pose our will on both sides of the ball and play our brand of bas­ket­ball. That’s what’s been win­ning us games all year.”

Ti­mofey Moz­gov led Cleve­land with 28 points and guard Matthew Dellave­dova, again bat­tling leg cramps af­ter a hos­pi­tal stay for de­hy­dra­tion, had 10.

The Cavs shot just 2 of 18 from the field and were outscored 27-12 in the fourth quar­ter. They also got noth­ing from their bench as J.R. Smith missed all eight 3-point at­tempts and Cleve­land’s re­serves com­bined to score seven points.

“Of­fen­sively we were ter­ri­ble,” James said, not­ing the Cavs were 4 of 27 on 3-point­ers. “Some­times your of­fense just doesn’t show up.”

Miss­ing All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irv­ing, the Cavs didn’t have enough fire­power and their legs were heavy af­ter play­ing three games in five days against the re­lent­less War­riors.

“We’re in a three-game se­ries for the NBA Fi­nals,” coach David Blatt said. “Six months ago I would have bought that. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board, go back to work, play the best bas­ket­ball we can and try to win this thing.”

Golden State showed a sense of ur­gency from the out­set. Iguo­dala, who played so well com­ing off the bench in the first three games, made his first start this sea­son and made coach Steve Kerr’s de­ci­sion look bril­liant.

Known for his de­fense, Iguo­dala drained four 3-point­ers, kept James in check and Curry, who fi­nally found his range in the fourth quar­ter of Game 3, also dropped four 3s, in­clud­ing a deep dag­ger in the fourth over Shumpert to end any thought the Cava­liers had of a come­back.

Iguo­dala made things tough on James, who went 7 of 22 from the field and 5 of 10 from the free-throw line.

“Make him work as hard as pos­si­ble,” Iguo­dala said of his plan on James. “Make him take tough shots. You look at his strengths, you look at his weak­nesses, and you try to take him out of his com­fort zone. Eas­ier said than done, but we all have a lot of tal­ent and when we go out there we want to make our stamp on the game.”

Since los­ing Game 3, the War­riors vowed to use the ex­pe­ri­ence they gained when ral­ly­ing from a 2-1 deficit against Mem­phis in the West­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals.

“It’s just a street fight,” Green said. “No­body’s do­ing any­thing dirty, but they’re bat­tling and we’re bat­tling and that’s why this se­ries is so ex­cit­ing.”

Look­ing for a spark, Kerr de­cided to go “small” with his start­ing lineup, putting Iguo­dala at for­ward, mov­ing Green to cen­ter and bench­ing strug­gling big man An­drew Bogut. Kerr ini­tially said he wouldn’t make any changes, but went with a lineup that worked well late in Game 3, when the War­riors scored 36 points and trimmed a 20-point deficit to one.

Kerr got the re­sult he wanted, but only af­ter the War­riors with­stood an early flurry from the Cavs, who scored the game’s first seven points.

“You’ve got to take a chance with the sit­u­a­tion we were in tonight,” Curry said.

AP

Golden State War­riors guard An­dre Iguo­dala #9 goes up for a dunk over Cleve­land Cava­liers for­ward James Jones #1 dur­ing the first half of Game 4 of bas­ket­ball’s NBA Fi­nals in Cleve­land, Ohio on Thurs­day, June 11.

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