In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers went 11-for-31 (35.5 percent) from three-point range, followed by a 8-for-29 (27.6 percent) showing in Game 2 and a 12-for-44 (27.3 percent) performance in Game 3.
All three of those long-range outputs amounted in losses.
Game 4 was a completely different story.
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As you might imagine, when the Cavs were able to connect on 24 of their 45 shots (53.3 percent) from deep in Game 4, they enjoyed a dominant victory. In fact, they set a record with their 49 first-quarter points and 86 first-half total en route to a 137-116 victory.
You can see how drastic Cleveland’s Game 4 performance was in the graph below:
The 137 total points scored is the most in an NBA Finals game in a long, long time.
Additionally, the Cavs’ 24 made threes set a Finals record, beating out the old record when they hit their 19th of the night.
Much of the work from deep was done by Kyrie Irving, who hit 7-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc. Hitting a number of tough shots all night, he was unconscious and virtually un-guardable. It was the second-highest number of individual threes hit in an NBA Finals game in quite some time, as well.
Additionally, Irving went 5-for-8 on contested threes in Game 4, which was a stark difference in how he performed under pressure in the first three games of the series.
But, as the number indicates, other players got in the mix.
Kevin Love went an efficient 6-of-8 from deep while LeBron James went 3-for-8. JR Smith chipped in by going 5-for-9, continuing his resurgence with 15 points. Combined, Love, James, Smith and Irving went 21-for-32 (65.6 percent) from three, which is incredible for a starting unit.
"I was hoping they would get tired, but they didn't seem to get tired tonight," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said to reporters after the game. "They were phenomenal. Both (Irving and James) played tremendous games, really did some amazing things, one-on-one, making shots, and then they got a lot of contributions from others, too.”
"We just kept our composure. We shared the ball, we moved the ball and defensively we were physical,'' James said after Cleveland's win. "It's one game. It'll be even tougher in Game 5, but we look forward to the challenge.’'
Physicality was certainly evident, but hitting a record number of threes also helped.
Game 5 will take place Monday night at Oracle Arena. It remains to be seen whether or not Cleveland will come out firing on all cylinders again.