Golden State will have some nightmares about surrendering a playoff-record 24 three-pointers in a 137-116 Game 4 rout last Friday by the Cavs, who hope to get in their opponent’s heads again. Green doesn’t just straddle the line of acceptability with his arguing – he spits on it.
It is his mind-bending shooting ability that still causes defences to be on high alert the second he steps over half court, and what has turned Golden State’s offence into an unstoppable juggernaut the past three seasons.
“We won three games in a row in the Finals and 15 in a row overall in the playoffs, you just think it’s going to happen”, Green said Sunday. Departing won’t be an option – this year, at least. The way the Cavs defend him allows him more free reign as LeBron is usually matched up on a non-shooter which allows him to play free safety and exert more energy on offense.
But these Warriors are a challenge unlike any other. “I’m stressed out. Keep doing this every year”.
“Just trying to limit his looks is important for us”, Lue said. However, assuming that they do win the finals, that will likely be the main topic of conversation throughout the offseason, as it is easy to despair about the future parity of the league when one team has such an absurd collection of talent in comparison to the other 29 teams. But if the Warriors want to avoid a historic collapse, a meltdown that would surpass even last June, they better handle their business in Game 5. An ambition like that leaves little margin for error. They won Game 6 at The Q, 115-101, and then won Game 7, in Oakland, 93-89 to become the first team in National Basketball Association history to recover from a 3-1 Finals deficit to win the championship. Jerry West (1-8) and Elgin Baylor (0-7) are comfortably in that class, and they have even worse Finals records. Afterwards he said his miserable outing- 14 points on just 13 shots and four turnovers- “Was just one of those nights”.
Yet, it wasn’t close to enough.
The Warriors, who lead the Finals 3-1, will get another chance to close the Cavaliers out on 9 p.m. ET on Monday.
Golden State answered with a game-turning 27-4 run, slam dunks by Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green and three Durant 3-pointers spicing the spurt that produced a 60-45 Warriors lead. But Cleveland has a long way to go to challenge the Warriors.
Still, the series could easily be tied 2-2. Deron Williams actually hit a shot (two, actually), Richard Jefferson was relentless when guarding Kevin Durant while also executing well on offense, and Iman Shumpert provided valuable minutes where he did less shooting and played more intense defense.
The best types or Durant criticism, however, are the more subtle digs. It was part of the vast respect Durant has for LeBron, something he verbalized throughout the night.
When will LeBron ever have to do less for his team to win a title? So, no, I never look at something and say, no, I shouldn’t have said that. The first three games, helping guys up off the floor, smiling, talking to guys and – yeah, I didn’t like that. It’s the attitude of someone secure in his place. But the King did not win the championship alone.