Tonight the Cavaliers are dreading to head back to the Oracle Arena on Monday night for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. They can be eliminated on the road and they know it. After the devastating loss they suffered in Game 4, they will have to give it their all if they want to keep their dignity.
The Wine and Gold dreams are fading fast despite having five road wins in the 2016 Playoffs, that record is tied for the franchise’s 2nd-most road victories in a single postseason. They had seven road wins in 2015 and five road wins in 2007. But tonight will be the hardest task as of yet.
Cleveland will be fighting to keep their season alive tonight after falling to the Warriors, 104-93 the Q on Friday. A Game 3 win had pumped their tires that they thought they could even the series, but only disappointment awaited them.
Despite losing, Cleveland was able to limit Golden State to .407 (33-81) shooting from the field in Game 4, which is the 4th-lowest field goal percentage they have allowed any opponent this postseason. In the last two games, the Cavs allowed a combined .414 (65-157) shooting from the field. If they can minimize that they might have a chance to steal one more game, but it’s not likely.
Cleveland will rely on their defensive effort going forward, while upping the output from their offense.
After the loss Game 4 Cav’s Coach Tyronn Lue said, “He never gets calls. I mean, he attacks. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he’s one of the guys that attacks the paint every single play. And he doesn’t get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength and because of his power and guys bounce off of him. But those are still fouls, and we weren’t able to get them. But we’ve got to play through officiating.”
LeBron James also addressed the problem but was very careful with his words because they can easily be misinterpreted as accusations, and he didn’t want to pay the NBA’s standard $25,000 fine for public criticism of the officiating.
“Well, it’s been like that all year for the most part,” James said. “I’m not quite sure what I can do personally to get to the free-throw line, but I’ve got to continue to be aggressive for our team. I’m getting hit, but the refs are not seeing it that way, on my drives.
“But I’ve got to continue to be aggressive for our team. That’s who I am, that’s what opens up the floor for a lot of our shooters, and just worry about the results afterwards”
The Cavs have a positive point to build on, they lead the 2016 NBA Playoffs in three-pointers made per game at 12.9. Cleveland is a perfect 13-0 when they score 100 points or more this postseason so that will be the magic number.
Golden State bounced back impressively from a poor Game 3, which lead to defeat. But they are 14-1 this regular-season and postseason in games following a loss, so that win was expected.
Despite the Cavs keeping the Warriors All-Star backcourt tandem of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson mostly in check throughout the series, Curry and Thompson exploded and found their rhythms in their Game 4 win.
Curry ended the game with 38 points, his fifth 30-point game of this postseason. That’s the most he has scored in an NBA Finals game in his career so he was feeling good. Thompson scored 25 points, making it the seventh postseason game that Curry and Thompson combined for at least 60 points in their careers. The dynamic due was unstoppable.
Even if the Cavs find a way to put a stop to the duo and overcome their frustration, and simply play better, it still might not be enough. Expect the championship to be won on home soil for the Warriors and this exciting NBA to be celebrated as over.
Our Pick: Warriors over Cavs, 111-92