After losing Game 3 to the Golden State Warriors in heartbreaking fashion, the Cleveland Cavaliers came out swinging with a blistering offensive attack in Game 4.
Led by the Big Three of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs put up a shocking 49 points on 14-of-24 shooting overall, including a 7-of-12 display from beyond the arc. The Warriors scored a mere 33.
Love dropped 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including an accurate 3-of-4 from beyond the arc while Irving netted 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, making two of his three shots from deep.
King James had eight points, going 2-of-5 from the floor, but added four rebounds and six assists on a clear triple-double pace. For the first time in the series, Cleveland was the unstoppable team.
As you might imagine, scoring 49 points in a quarter during the NBA Finals had some historic significance. In fact, it had never been done before in the history of the league.
Most teams had trouble scoring 49 points in the first half against the Warriors all season long. All the talks of a sweep must have gotten to the Cavs, especially with the support of the home crowd urging them on.
Cleveland had 10 assists in the first quarter, but it was LeBron James’ impact that was most noticeable. The Cavaliers scored nearly a third of their points off of his passes alone in the first.
They also attempted 22 free throws in the first quarter. While they only made 14, it was a clear indication that they planned on attacking the paint early and often, picking up free points at the charity stripe. Not only did the attempts slow the game down, which worked in their favor, but it also allowed them to pick up some easy buckets against a Golden State team that has been formidable at both ends of the court.
History is not on Cleveland’s side. After trailing 3-0 in the Finals, only four teams in history have won Game 4.
As you see above, it hasn’t been done in two decades.
Getting past Golden State has proven to be impossible for Cleveland so far, but if the first quarter is any indication, it shows that they also have an immense amount of offensive firepower on their roster that can be unstoppable at times as well.
It’s worth noting that this was the first time in the series that the Cavs led heading into the second quarter. In Game 1, the Warriors led 35-30 after the first quarter, in Game 2, Golden State led 40-32 after the opening quarter and in Game 3, the Warriors led 39-32 after the first.