Irving saves his best for when Cavs face Finals elimination

Irving saves his best for when Cavs face Finals elimination

With the Cleveland Cavaliers taking Game 4, the NBA Finals shifts back to Oracle Arena in Oakland where the Golden State Warriors will get another opportunity to close out the series to win a title in front of their home crowd.

Green has played just 133 minutes through four games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have been only seven times a player scored at least 40 points to win when facing elimination in the Finals and Irving and James have each done it twice the past two years. "He has always been built for the biggest moments and he showed that once again".

LeBron James is probably on his way to losing his fifth Finals in eight tries. Win or lose against the Warriors, he's often fantastic regardless.

The numbers illustrate just how important that task is for the Cavaliers. The Warriors ended the game on an 11-0 run.

Expect the battle to be joined as the Warriors, on the brink of an National Basketball Association title but coming off their first loss in two months, try to clinch before home supporters. Don't and this series gets scary.

Go ahead, back them into a corner. The Cavs set a host of new records in the win, including most Finals points in a quarter (49) and in a half (86).

According to OddsShark, the Warriors are an 8.5-point favorite over the Cavaliers.

Leah Klafczynski/Zuma Press/Icon SportswireLeBron James' salary is the highest of any NBA Finals player. Except they also put up a collective 77 in Game 3. If Cleveland wins another game, another level of doubt creeps into Golden State's collective mind, and the Cavs know that.

But it's not simple.

Many of those are still hard shots by most players' standards, but they're ones Irving can make in volume. That's especially true if Golden State can't stop irresistible forces James and Irving from getting to the rim easily, which happened each of the past two games. In his 42 minutes in the first two games, Smith tallied a horrendous minus-30.

"Just try to take it slow", Durant said of Monday's approach.

The solutions are easy - defend fiercely from the start and make early shots; ignore the fans and the blathering class, and view this as a game that demands immediate and unabating ruthlessness. I don't care how many MVP's are on the other side. We have to manage him better.

Cullen's calm voice will be heard in locker room before Game 6
Justin Schultz , Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary also scored for the Penguins , who have outscored Nashville 15-4 in Pittsburgh . He of four regular-season goals netted his second of the playoffs in the second period, giving the Penguins their 6-0 lead.

How? It starts from 3.

Irving, 25, feels contact after almost every shot now.

Even in the Game 4 wipeout loss, Durant excelled.

James, though, wouldn't concede the Cavs have the Warriors right where they want them.

Durant was not his usual destructive self on the defensive end in Game 4, but he was more effective on that end than most of his teammates.

Down 3-0 to the Warriors in this season's NBA Finals, Cleveland claimed their first victory of the series in Game 4, and entered the weekend trying to refocus on another improbable turnaround. How was your defense? That will remain the case even as both Curry and his coach, Steve Kerr, tried to downplay his performance Friday. Got to be physical.

"You're damn right it is", Jefferson said of the pressure resting squarely on Golden State in his estimation. When he's extending the floor and hitting those 3s, it opens the floor for everybody. But as we saw in Game 4, Cleveland's roster is just as loaded with talent and can compete with anybody. As James got up, he offered a hand to McGee to help him. These are fine for the Warriors.

What will Thompson and Warriors have to do to close out?

"He's one of the best talents the league has seen". We did that, and hopefully we can do it Monday night.

But if Thompson does need a tag-team partner, perhaps more Andre Iguodala on Irving would be a wise choice.

Some have suggested the Warriors double-team him. Cleveland repeatedly attacked Curry in pick and roll situations, and he did little to discourage those attacks.

"It's just who he is", Adams said. "Because a lot of his scoring isn't coming off of ball screens. It's going 1-on-1". There is no stopping K.D. There is no stopping LeBron or Steph [Curry] or Kyrie [Irving]. And that for many is the stat of the night, that's why they won.