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Game 4 Preview: Warriors at Cavaliers - 6/9/17

Golden State Leads Series 3-0

ON TO CLEVELAND
After completing a thrilling comeback in the final minutes of Game 3 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Warriors will attempt to become the first team in NBA history to complete an undefeated postseason when they take on the Cavaliers in Game 4 on Friday night. With a victory, Golden State would take home the 2017 NBA Championship, while a defeat would force a Game 5 back at Oracle Arena on June 12th. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Pacific). Watch the action on ABC, or listen to the call on 95.7 The Game, ESPN Radio and the Warriors Radio Network.

LAST TIME OUT
Kevin Durant drilled a go-ahead three-pointer with 45 seconds left and the Warriors used an 11-0 game-ending run to steal Game 3, 118-113, in Cleveland on Wednesday. Full Recap

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
Playoff Ranks

GSW
3-0
1st in West
118.9 PPG (1st)
46.4 RPG (2nd)
28.5 APG (1st)

CLE
0-2
2nd in East
114.7 PPG (2nd)
42.4 RPG (9th)
21.8 APG (6th)

PROJECTED STARTERS
GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia
CLE: Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: None. Team Notes
CLE: Edy Tavares (right hand fracture) is out. Team Notes

TOUGH AS NAILS
It wasn’t always pretty, but they got the job done in the end. Kevin Durant’s go-ahead three-pointer will always be remembered as the iconic moment of Game 3 (and perhaps these NBA Finals), but prior to that historic shot, the Warriors had dug themselves a considerable hole and were themselves at least partly to blame. Golden State committed six turnovers in each of the first two quarters of the contest before compiling another five in the third, which came to a close with the Warriors facing a five-point deficit. In the regular season, Golden State had a record of 5-9 in games in which they trailed entering the fourth quarter, and were just 5-6 in games decided by five points or less. In the playoffs, however, the Dubs have been an entirely different animal in the face of late adversity. After holding Cleveland scoreless for the final three minutes and closing Game 3 on an 11-0 run to steal the victory, the Warriors are now 3-0 this postseason in games decided by 10 points or fewer. “It wasn't our smartest game that we have played all year, but it was maybe our toughest in terms of our ability to just hang in there,” said Steve Kerr following the win. While Golden State has had their fair share of blowout wins in these playoffs, championships are not won easily, and that was certainly apparent on Wednesday night. Teams up 3-0 in a best-of-seven series are 126-0 all-time in NBA history, and with a chance to become the first team ever to go 16-0 in the playoffs, it will likely take another tough, gritty effort on behalf of the Warriors in order to complete the sweep of Cleveland in Game 4 on Friday.

TEAM PLAYOFF LEADERS

GSW
PTS: Curry (28.6)
REB: Green (8.6)
AST: Green (6.7)

CLE
PTS: James (32.4)
REB: Love (11.0)
AST: James (7.6)

THE POWER OF THREE
After setting a Finals record with 18 three-pointers in Game 2, the Warriors carried their hot shooting into Game 3, where they set another Finals record with another 12 threes in the first half. The Dubs would go on to total 16 treys on 33 attempts in the victory, compared to 12-of-44 shooting from beyond the arc for Cleveland – that’s 33.3 percent more makes for the Warriors on 33.3 percent fewer attempts. It was the continuation of an ongoing trend throughout this series in which Golden State has had a considerable advantage from three-point range. With their 12-point advantage off threes in Game 3, the Warriors have now outscored Cleveland 138-93 from beyond the arc in the Finals, despite taking just five more total attempts. The power of three has additional relevance to the series in terms of the number of scoring threats that each side possesses. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 77 points in Game 3, the most by a duo in a loss in NBA Finals history, with that defeat being due in large part to Golden State’s trifecta of standout point providers. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson scored 31 and 30 points, respectively, while Stephen Curry added 26 of his own. It marked the second-straight game the Warriors had two 30-piont scorers, establishing the first time a team has done so in back-to-back Finals games since Jerry West and Elgin Baylor did so in 1962. If the Warriors’ sharp-shooting continues and that trio can provide a similar scoring output in Game 4, it will certainly bode well for Golden State’s chances of earning another victory.

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