- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
The Warriors couldn't make history in Game 4, and now they're going to try and prevent history from repeating itself.
With a chance to win the NBA championship, and go undefeated in the playoffs, the Warriors got run over by the Cavaliers, 137-116, Friday night. Golden State is still in control of the NBA Finals up 3-1 with the series shifting to the Bay area.
Some variation of those words was written or uttered somewhere almost one year ago. The Warriors led last year's Finals 3-1 with the series moving to Golden State for Game 5, and the rest became history. The Cavaliers won the next three games and the championship. So they have the Warriors right where they want them, right?
"No, they got us where they want us," LeBron James said. "At the end of the day, we want to just try to put ourselves in position to play another game. We did that, and hopefully we can do it Monday night.
It was stunning when the Cavaliers came back to win after Golden State followed their 2015 championship with an NBA-record 73 wins in the regular season. No team had ever squandered a 3-1 lead in the Finals and lost. But it was a perfect storm for the Cavaliers as so many things contributed to the Warriors' collapse.
Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5, Steph Curry wasn't healthy throughout the playoffs, and the team was mentally and physically fatigued after chasing the regular-season record.
"Different team, man," Curry said.
There is a lot different about this year's Warriors, namely the addition of Kevin Durant, who has been the MVP of the Finals thus far. Overall, they have more weapons and they appear to have grown and matured from last year's meltdown.
"We obviously know you can't just go home and expect to win," Curry said.
But if history somehow repeats itself, it actually would be a bigger collapse than last year since the Warriors led this series 3-0. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in NBA postseason annals to win a series.
It would be epic if the Cavaliers did it, and forever taint this group of Warriors, who have lost just four times in the previous 34 games.
"We're in a great spot and now we have to capitalize," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I'm pretty sure Draymond won't be suspended for Game 5. Maybe he will, I don't know. But we'll go tee it up again."
Kerr was joking about Green. He didn't do anything in Game 4 to warrant a suspension like last year when he hit James in the groin area when he stepped over the Warriors forward.
But Green was nearly ejected from Game 4 Friday after being charged with two technical fouls. But the officials said the scorer's table mistakenly gave a technical meant for Kerr to Green. If Green hadn't been suspended for Game 5 last year, the Warriors might be going for a three-peat right now.
"We got a golden opportunity going home on Monday to close one out," Green said. "I've won one on the road. I want to see how it feels to win one at home. Got to come out with some fire and get it done.
"Thank God I get to play."
But the Cavaliers are thinking big after their big Game 4 win. This series could be tied 2-2 but the Cavaliers went scoreless the last 3:08 in Game 3 after leading by six. The Warriors ended the game on an 11-0 run.
The Cavaliers made sure there were no comebacks in Game 4. They grabbed hold of Game 4 with a record 49-point first quarter. Irving scored 40 and James had his third straight Finals' triple-double, finishing with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
"Every game is do-or-die and we understand that," Kyrie Irving said. "We're ready to live in it."
Cleveland is now 4-0 the past two years when facing elimination against Golden State. It probably will take another gargantuan performance from James and Irvings in Game 5 to keep the series going. They did it last year, as James and Irving each scored 41 points in a 15-point win over the Warriors.
James has grown accustomed to being in this situation, but he wishes the Cavaliers would stop backing themselves in a corner.
"I don't like it," James said. "It causes too much stress man. I'm stressed out. Keep doing this every year. But listen at the end of the day we got some resilient guys. The Warriors have championship DNA and we do as well. We're battle tested, they're battle tested.
"So our mindset is to try and go up there and get one, which is probably one of the toughest environments we have in this league, along with our building. We look forward to the challenge."
Here we go again.