By RJ Saunders
Cleveland, OH — It seems like even the great LeBron James can only will a team so far.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, from the opening tip, seemed mentally checked out. The first three games of this series, the Cavaliers tried everything and nothing worked. And during the course of the game, it seemed like they understood that even if they played as perfect as they did in Game One of this series, it still wouldn’t be enough.
The Cavs as a team shot 34 percent from the field. In addition, as an NBA fan you just wanted some shots to go in for the Cavs to at least make the game competitive. But, the Cavaliers couldn’t find any sort of rhythm at any point in the game. The best quarter of the match-up for the Cavs was in the second, where they went on a 14-4 run to go up by one after trailing by 11 points.
The Cavs as a team would score 27 points in that quarter and find themselves down by only nine (61-52) going into halftime.
However, it didn’t seem as if Cleveland wanted to make one final push to try and win this game and send it back to Oakland for Game Five, as the Warriors in the third quarter would outscore the Cavs 25-13, behind the play of by Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
And out of all the Cavs players, LeBron James seemed to be the man to check out first in this closeout Game Four. Although he would finish with 23 points, seven boards and eight assists, he was a minus 21 in the ball game. In addition, it seemed that there were moments in the game that reminded you of his final game as a Cavalier the first time around when he lost to the Boston Celtics.
He would try to fire up his team during the timeouts, but it didn’t seem to work. He wasn’t as aggressive as he’s been all playoffs, his teammates did not seem at all engaged, and it just seemed as if he was already looking at the next move in his career.
With that being said, can you blame this man for being tired? He essentially dealt with two different sets of rosters, was still expected to perform at a high-level night in and night out (which he did all year) AND with no help took a team who had no business getting to Finals, to the NBA Finals.
However, you could see the frustration in his eyes as he now took his sixth NBA Finals loss. You have to wonder what, and more importantly, where is next for “The King” as he walked to the locker room once the final buzzer sounded at the Q, in what would seem to be LeBron’s final time in a Cavalier uniform.
However, the night would belong to the Golden State Warriors who played a very smooth game from start to finish.
Golden State would go on an early 10-3 run and shoot 59 percent from the field and 60 percent from the three-point line.
In the second frame, the Warriors grew somewhat cold from downtown. But, they too, would also drop 27 points in the second period on 47 percent shooting. Also working in Golden State’s favor was Curry, who was great in the first half, as he scored 20 of his game-high 37 points in the first half of action on 53 percent shooting.
In the second half, Golden State really didn’t have to do too much. Certainly, they understood the Cavs had mentally given up. However, it wouldn’t stop the Warriors from delivering the onslaught and Kevin Durant earning his second straight Finals MVP award with a triple-double performance (20-12-10).
Love them or hate them, Golden State is in the conversation as one of the great teams of all-time if they weren’t already in the conversation. They’re one of the greatest shooting teams ever assembled, they can beat you in a multiplicity of ways and they have possibly three of the top 10 greatest shooters of all-time.
And the sad part about it all is… is there a team that can stop them? If you think about it, and Steve Kerr alluded to it during the ceremony, this was the toughest year for Golden State. They seemed off and it was almost as if the regular season and parts of the Playoffs bored them. However, there still wasn’t a team that could take advantage and dethrone them.
And as fantastic as the NBA season was this year, if Golden State can win a championship as a team that was just coasting through the entire year, then the rest of the league possibly has no chance of dethroning them once Golden State finds any sort of motivation again.
As we head to the off-season, congratulations to the Warriors, and good luck to the rest of the league.