Well, that was painful.
After bulldozing their way to
three fifteen straight wins in the postseason, the Golden State Warriors were unable to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers last night in Ohio. Many Warriors went through all the stages of grief in this loss — although some seem to be stuck in a mix of anger and acceptance.
We get another crack at the Cavaliers on Monday, but let’s look back at what happened in Game 4.
Biggest factors in the Cavaliers win — shooting
Don’t let the horrible officiating distract you: the Cavaliers shot the ball so absurdly well that this game may have been out of reach no matter what.
In the first half on Friday, the Cavaliers scored 86 points on 61% shooting. As a result of that, even the Warriors’ post season best halftime output (68 points) still left them trailing by 18 points.
Over the course of the game, the Cavaliers shot just over 53% from three point range — AS A TEAM! That’s so far outside of the normal shooting that all you can do is throw your hands up, shrug and say, “It’s not our night.” I mean, the Cavaliers are a formidable team from deep but that generally means you can expect them to shoot around their season average of 38% from deep.
Instead, we were treated to a shooting display for the ages. It started right from the tipoff when JR Smith nailed a three pointer to open the game and didn’t stop until the Cavaliers had set an NBA Finals record with 24 made three pointers. For perspective the Cavaliers had been shooting around 26% on their wide open threes so far in the series. Last night? The Cavaliers shot around 55% (17-of-31) on these open shots, while the Warriors shot a horrible 16.7% (4-of-24).
Look long and hard at those numbers before complaining about the refs.
Ok, did you get a good look? Because let’s talk about the absolute clown show that the refs ran last night.
Second biggest factor last night — the refs
Cavaliers fans are going to be pointing at the eventual foul count being relatively even on this game, but that’s not really the story. From a Warriors fan perspective, it was the SUPER friendly first quarter whistles that had us all up in arms.
Talk about a one sided game...22 free throws in the 1st quarter...Adam Silver doing everything he can to force a game 7 #NBAFinals— Chris Brandt (@ImAwkwardBrandt) June 10, 2017
For perspective, in the 2016-17 NBA season, the Phoenix Suns led the league in fouls per game with just under 25. PER GAME. Golden State, was middle of the pack, for what it’s worth, averaging around 20 fouls per game during the regular season.
The most prominent official Friday night? Mike Callahan, who had refereed 11 straight Cleveland wins — make it 12 — and has now officiated the last three times the Cavs have beaten the Warriors.
Like really, what the hell?
When LeBron was whining about wanting someone on the team who could make plays I had no idea he was thinking of Mike Callahan & Marc Davis.— Mike B (@MBhoops13) June 10, 2017
You are crazy if you think that doesn’t have an undue influence on the game, right Draymond Green?
What happened in the first quarter?
“They were aggressive. You got to give them credit. They were aggressive, but when everyone has two fouls, it’s hard to match the physicality. But we’ll bounce back. At the end of the day, we didn’t expect them to lay down.
So yeah. Tons of credit to the Cavaliers for not laying down. But all those whistles in the first quarter were pretty damn fishy. From a mugging of KD that went uncalled — resulting in a Warriors turnover and fast break point for the Cavaliers — to one of the most blatant uncalled backcourt violations of all time, the first quarter stank.
Once the game was securely in hand, the refs seemed to switch sides in the second half, granting the Warriors some breaks (most notably tossing and then un-tossing Green). But with the game out of reach, it just cemented this game as one of the worst officiated games that I can remember.
The Cavaliers earned this win. They had more rebounds, assists and steals, and fewer turnovers.
But we can still win it all with one more victory
It was just one game. I know I feel bitter about this loss, so I assume the Warriors’ players are going to as well. But more importantly, we are now poised for a shot at righting the wrongs of history.
ALL YEAR, we’ve endured the ubiquitous jokes about it and now here we are: the Warriors have a 3-1 lead in the Finals. The only differences? They didn’t suspend Green (yet), our team is healthy and we replaced Harrison Barnes with Matt Barnes.
Wait... no, there’s something wrong with that last line... but whatever. The point is we don’t need to fret about this game. Just like our loss in the Finals last year ended in the serendipitous signing of Kevin Durant, this Game 4 loss has us positioned to reclaim the “3-1 lead” meme.
Time to move on from this game, and I hope we can all agree that we are right where we need to be. From our series preview prediction:
But Warriors pull out both of the first two games (with game 1 being the most sphincter-clenchingly close). Then we split at Cleveland to return home with the series at 3-1.
Warriors in 5.
Do you remember when Steve Young won his first NFL championship and asked someone to please lift the monkey off of his back?
With another 3-1 lead in the Finals as they head back to Oakland, the Warriors are perfectly poised to remove the “blew a 3-1 lead” monkey on Monday in game 5.
Warriors in 5.
See you Monday!!