The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a well fought game Friday night, falling 108-97 to the Golden State Warriors. Once the game tipped off it was apparent that this game would be the competitive game basketball junkies have been waiting to see. The back and forth game was basketball at its finest where fans got to witness two amazing teams trade punches over four quarters. The loss is a devastating blow to Cleveland and their title hopes, as they now have to win all three of the remaining games in order to bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
In what was the first close game of the series the Warriors managed to steal a game in Cleveland thanks in large part to an excellent performance from behind the three point line and timely rebounding. LeBron James, who just missed a triple double and Kyrie Irving who chipped 34 points put in herculean efforts to try and will the Cavaliers to victory but unfortunately missed rebounds, stagnant offense and the Warriors backcourt lead to the Cavs demise.
The Warriors punched first, winning the opening quarter 29-28. Golden State shot well but winning the rebound battle kept Cleveland right on their tail. During the second the Cavs started to build a small lead behind great offensive play from Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith, each racking up double digits scoring lines in the first half. Another great sign for Cleveland was that the 'Kevin Love coming off the bench experiment' was working. The talented power forward played inspired basketball racking up 7 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block while being a game high +7 in the first half.
In the third quarter things started to slip away for the wine and gold. A little too much reliance on 1-on--1 playmaking on the offensive end combined with fatigue on the defensive end lead to a quarter in which Golden State not only erased their halftime deficit of five but also built a lead of two by the end of the frame. The Warriors managed this in large part thanks to excellent three point shooting and a great stretch from former Cavalier Anderson Varajeo. The wheels started to fall off for the Cavs about midway through the fourth quarter. The Cavs started to lose the rebounding battle and the second chance points from Golden State buried the Cavs. Down the stretch bad turnovers and missed opportunities proved to much for the Cavs to overcome.
This loss hurts. The team played their hears out and left it all on the floor. The Cavs season is now hanging by a thread as they head to Oakland for the game five. We'll see if they can send the series back to Cleveland.