Game 4 might have been the dumbest thing that has ever happened on an NBA Finals hardwood. It was also the most sensational 48 minutes of shotmaking from one team that we’ve ever seen in the Finals. If the first assertion isn’t true, the second one most certainly is.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors on Friday in a 137-116 game, and it’s impossible to even count how many things happened that were just absurd. The referees didn’t kick out Draymond Green after giving him two technicals. LeBron James and Kevin Durant got into it. Jeff Van Gundy gave his hottest Kardashian takes. Someone got punched in the groin and DRAYMOND WASN’T EVEN INVOLVED!
That all underlies the Cavaliers, who scored more points through two quarters than either conference had at halftime of the 2015 All-Star Game. They dropped 49 points in the first quarter, 86 by halftime, and ended up with 137 for the game — all NBA records. Toss in 24 made threes, and it was an absurdly quick correction to the mean.
All that, and the Cavaliers didn’t even have the game locked up until a few minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Golden State is monstrous. They scored 116 points in this game and still have a chokehold on this series, up three games to one. (Reminder that we’re not done with the memes yet, nor should we be.) We can appreciate the Cavaliers in Game 4 while still understanding that the Warriors are the overwhelming favorites to win this series, and probably in Game 5 when they return home. No one is doubting that.
But we’ll appreciate this game, because it was just ... dumb. And there are degrees to dumbness, and this was at the very top of it. The fouls made no sense. The technicals didn’t go to the right people. The players wouldn’t stop making ridiculous shots. It wasn’t basketball at its finest — more like, it was basketball with four drinks on a Friday night when everyone is your friend, the music is just right, and all you want is to dance a little at your table because you know the nachos are coming out at any moment now.
We love technically sound, proficient basketball, and we got that earlier in the series. But sometimes you just want to let loose in a grungy dive bar. That was Game 4, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.
And like that, after dreading this Finals series coming to a close with nothing but Warriors dominance to show for it, we suddenly have more basketball ... and we’re excited for it. At least I am. The past 96 minutes we’ve seen in Cleveland have been absolutely ridiculous, but it’s still basketball. It’s not quite over yet.
It won’t happen, and Warriors fans might light my email inbox on fire for even suggesting this (it’s linked here, fellas), but: maybe J.R. Smith was onto something. Give me three more games just like this, please.