The Warriors had insisted all along that a 16-0 run in the playoffs was not their goal, and that a championship was all that mattered. But after an improbable comeback in Game 3, they started to admit that they would like to finish things in Game 4.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and the Cavaliers had other plans, putting on a record-setting offensive display in a 137-116 victory that will send the series back to Oakland for a Game 5.
Irving, with 40 points, was the biggest catalyst for Cleveland in an offensive barrage that included a finals-record 24 3-pointers. LeBron James, who is averaging a triple-double in the Finals, had 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists, and Kevin Love was remarkable from outside, shooting 6 of 8 from 3-point range for 23 points. The Cavaliers also set finals records for points in a quarter (49) and the half (86).
“It’s do or die,” Irving said when asked why elimination games bring the best out of him. “We understand that.”