The Warriors hold a 3-1 lead…again, but this time it’s different. Last year, the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the Finals. The difference here is that
the Cavs were able to get a win prior to losing 3 games in the series last year. Winning 3 straight games and winning 4 straight games are very different as far as difficulty. Each game gets more intense and room for error constantly decreases to the point where perfect basketball must be played throughout all 48 minutes of the game.
The Cavs have no room for error at all in Game 5 (and so on if they win) not only because they are one loss away from losing the series but also because the Warriors have Kevin Durant or “Slim Reaper” as some may know him by. That name seems to be very fitting as he has the ability to kill any team with his consistent and clutch shooting. In Game 3, the Cavs were not able to run away with a big enough lead to keep the Warriors outside of striking distance. Ultimately, causing their demise courtesy of a Slim Reaper pull up 3 with just seconds left in Game 3. From there, the Warriors were able to hold on in order to build their lead to 3-0. In Game 4, the Cavs literally had to play record-setting basketball in order to defeat the Warriors. They scored 86 first half points (NBA record for most points in a half), and made 24 3-pt field goals (NBA Finals record for most 3’s made in a game by a single team). Regardless of the 21 point difference in Game 4, it still seemed a lot closer than it really was. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the game or maybe it was the fact that the Warriors are one of the most stacked teams in recent NBA history. I’m going with the stacked theory. Why? Because the Warriors we’re having a bad shooting night. They only shot 28 percent from beyond the arc (10 percent below their average as a team). Steph Curry ended the game with just 14 points and 10 assists and even though Kevin Durant scored 35 points, he shot 9-22 in that effort. Durant is usually consistent with his efficiency averaging 53 percent shooting on the season and 54 percent during this postseason. Bad shooting nights from the Warriors have not come often this season let alone the past few so they are not to be taken for granted. A bad shooting night plus one of the best shooting nights by the Cavs only equated to a 21-point victory. Dont get me wrong, that is still a blowout but if the Cavs put on a similar performance against any other team in the league, it would be at least a 35-point victory. The Warriors have so much firepower from all over the court and their chemistry is unfathomable that no matter what, they will always be in the game. There was a moment within Game 4 in the 4th quarter, the Cavs were up 19 and in less than 30 seconds the Warriors hit 2 straight 3’s effortlessly cutting their lead to just 13. With no hesitation, Cavs Head Coach Tyronn Lue called timeout knowing he had to talk to his team about staying aggressive and not allowing the Warriors to catch fire. Once GSW catches fire, especially Klay Thompson, it is almost impossible to put it out. The Warriors have at least 3 options for scoring in Durant, Curry, and Thompson. All have the ability to score anywhere on the court and averaged 20 plus points a game this season. They also have a defensive anchor in Draymond Green who is a top 2 candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Add in their deep bench of players who all play their role just as well as anyone in the league and you have one of the best teams in NBA history.
With that being said, tonight at 9pm ET is Game 5 in Oracle Arena. If the Cavs fail to play their best brand of basketball, including holding the Warriors to another bad shooting night, then the game, series, and NBA season will conclude with the Golden State Warriors as the 2016-2017 NBA Champions. That is exactly what I predict will occur tonight. It’s arduous to have a record-setting performance like the Cavs did in Game 4. It’s even more back-breaking trying to repeat and create a similar performance. It was a decent effort by the Cavs this series although the super team Warriors have been too much for any team to handle this season. The Warriors hold a 3-1 lead…again, but the difference is they won’t blow it this time.