The Golden State Warriors entered Game 4 of the NBA Finals having not lost three straight games all season. Behind a strong effort from Andre Iguodala, the Warriors made sure to keep that trend in tact, easing past the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night, 103-82, to even the best-of-seven series, 2-2.
It was a convincing win due to a dominant fourth quarter by the Warriors, who outscored the Cavaliers 27-12. Golden State used a 20-7 run from the end of the third quarter to the 5:35 mark of the fourth quarter to essentially put the game out of reach. Unlike the first three games of the series, there was little doubt about the final result in the closing minutes.
Head coach Steve Kerr decided to go small and have center Andrew Bogut on the bench. Iguodala got the start in Bogut's place, and scored 22 points on 8-15 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds. It was the veteran forward's best scoring night of the season. MVP guard Stephen Curry also came up big, scoring 22 points and dishing out six assists. The Warriors bench outscored the Cavs' bench, 19-7.
"Every team we go up against, we are going to use our strength in numbers, and not only do we have a good first unit, but we got a second unit coming at you with the same type of speed, same type of high IQ basketball ... It's hard to keep up with us. We're going to try to keep it going," Iguodala said.
Curry said it made sense for Kerr to go with a small lineup.
"We still need Bogut to be productive when he gets on the floor. He's obviously going to play minutes, and have an impact throughout the rest of the series. We want to make sure he's still locked in, and we know he will be. But [Kerr] manages all that really well. You gotta take a chance with the situation we were in tonight," said Curry.
LeBron James had his worst shooting game of the series. James had previously scored 39 points or better in the Finals, but managed just 20 points on 7-22 shooting.
The superstar forward managed to avoid a serious injury, though. With 4:43 remaining in the second quarter, James took a tumble under the basket and ended up hitting his head on a sideline camera, which opened a gash. James would remain in the game, and would not show any ill effects from the incident.
At halftime, the Warriors led 54-42, on 46.5 percent shooting compared to 37 percent shooting by the Cavs. Cleveland would battle back after the break. In the third quarter, the Warriors built a 63-50 lead, but the Cavs would go on a 12-2 run to cut into the lead.
But the final 12 minutes belonged to the Warriors. The shots were dropping for Curry and Iguodola, and the Warriors showed no signs that they were willing to let the Cavs back into the game.
With Bogut playing just three minutes, Cavs center Timofey Mozgov had a relatively easy time in the interior, scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, as one of the lone bright spots for Cleveland. David Blatt's squad shot just 33.0 percent from the field, and converted just four of their 27 three-point shots.
Game 5 is on Sunday at Oracle Arena.