CLEVELAND (AP) – The Latest on Game 4 of the NBA Finals (all times local):
As would be expected, Cleveland has come out flying in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
J.R. Smith has made a pair of 3-pointers, Kyrie Irving has made two of his first three shots and Cleveland opened a quick 16-5 lead over Golden State at the first time-out Friday night.
The Warriors missed four of their first six shots.
The early 11-point lead was Cleveland’s biggest lead yet in The Finals.
Game 4 has started in Cleveland.
Golden State’s quest for a championship, an NBA Finals sweep and the first perfect postseason in league history is underway. The Warriors lead this series 3-0 and if they win Game 4 on Friday night, the Larry O’Brien Trophy will be presented on the road for the third consecutive season.
Cleveland, of course, won Game 7 at Golden State last year; the Warriors won the crown in Game 6 at Cleveland in 2015.
It would be the fourth time LeBron James has lost a Finals on his home floor, joining 2007 (with Cleveland), 2011 (with Miami) and 2015.
When Stephen Curry walked into Quicken Loans Arena Friday night for Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Odell Beckham Jr. was waiting for him.
Wearing a white hooded sweat shirt, the New York Giants receiver was standing near the entrance and called out to Curry as the Warriors star was walking through security.
“Hey, you know you can lose one,” Beckham yelled out. “Listen, you ain’t got to go undefeated.”
Curry smiled and went over to greet Beckham, a friend of LeBron James’ who has worked out with the Cleveland superstar.
If the Warriors finish off a sweep, this would be the earliest start to the NBA offseason since the Boston Celtics beat the Houston Rockets for the title on June 8, 1986.
Oracle Arena is set up for a concert, not a basketball game.
That is, except for a massive image of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, prominently displayed on the middle of the floor.
Thousands of fans are expected at the home of the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, having gobbled up $20 tickets for an NBA Finals watch party at Oracle. Part of the ticket money is going to charity.
Game 4 in Cleveland will be shown on the huge overhead scoreboard at Oracle, the seats are all tinged in gold and a huge “Strength In Numbers” banner – the team motto – is on display as well.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland, some vendors outside the Cavs’ arena apparently are preparing for the likelihood that this is the last home game of the season. NBC Sports Bay Area, the broadcaster for Golden State games, tweeted out a photo where one vendor was offering Finals merchandise before Game 4 at a 50 percent discount.
The Cleveland Cavaliers know something about historic comebacks.
They need another one, starting Friday night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
No NBA team had overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals until LeBron James and the Cavs did it a year ago, storming back and stunning defending champion Golden State. The Warriors failed to crown a regular season in which they set a record with 73 wins.
No team has ever recovered from the 3-0 deficit facing the Cavaliers this year. Teams are 0-126 in the same situation.
Still, veteran guard Richard Jefferson said following Friday’s shootaround the Cavs aren’t giving up or giving in. He said “most of the guys in our locker room have done something that’s never been done in the history of the game of basketball. We understand the task is large, we understand the task has not been done before.”
Jefferson said the Cavs are not guaranteeing four victories in a row.
He said they are going to come out as a confident group, play hard and give themselves a chance in Game 4.
“Then go on to the next game,” Jefferson said, “and then go on to the next game and see what happens.”
Steve Kerr hasn’t talked to any of the old-timers who say their teams would have beaten his Golden State Warriors.
But he sarcastically responded to them Friday before Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, saying they were right and “they would all kill us.”
With the Warriors unbeaten in the postseason and a victory away from a second title in three years, a number of former players have said their teams would have beaten them. Magic Johnson has said that his Lakers would probably have even done it in a sweep.
Kerr mockingly agreed, saying after the Warriors’ shootaround that “the game gets worse as time goes on” and “players are less talented than they used to be.”
He added: “The guys in the ’50s would have destroyed everybody.”
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