OAKLAND, Calif. — You knew Game 4 of the NBA Finals was going to be something different in the first quarter.
And not just because the Cavaliers scored a Finals-record 49 points.
Rather, because Stephen Curry didn’t score a basket for the Warriors.
Curry finished with a pedestrian 14 points and was a minus-25 when he was on the floor. He started out with an 0-of-5 first quarter then made his first shot in the second quarter. Curry’s streak of 20-point games ended at 13.
“Obviously I can play better and want to play better and will play better,” Curry said after the Cavaliers stomped the Warriors, 137-116, to make the Finals 3-1. Golden State can clinch at home Monday.
But they’ll need Curry to be Curry.
“Obviously it wasn’t his night. Started slow, we had some turnovers early, couple careless ones. He just didn’t get it going. It was just one of those nights,” coach Steve Kerr said.
One more example why it wasn’t Curry’s night: He missed a free throw. He misfired his first try from the line in the second half, finished 4-of-5. He had made 35 straight in the Finals.
LeBron James, trying to become the first player to average a Finals triple-double, is playing in his seventh straight Finals, eighth overall. His first was in 2007, when his overmatched Cavaliers were swept by the Spurs. He was asked for the biggest difference between then and now.
“I stunk in the first Finals. I don’t stink anymore,” James said.
Curry’s fellow Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, on Cleveland’s fast Game 4 start and the Warriors’ lack of response: “They hit us first. We didn’t have any type of good response, which is inexcusable at this point in the season. We missed a golden opportunity, but we’ll correct the things we didn’t do right.”
Every game of the Finals brings some sort of history. In Game 4: James scored 31 points and moved ahead of Michael Jordan and into third place (1,206 points) on the Finals career scoring list. He trails only Jerry West (1,679) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317). … James this postseason became the all-time playoff scoring leader, now at 6,122. … Kevin Durant joined Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players to score at least 25 points in their first nine Finals games.