Cleveland played a competitive first quarter, responding to an early-double digit deficit (and a deficit as large as 15) to get as close as five points and within nine points after one. Kevin Love had nine points in the opening quarter, and LeBron James had eight.
The Cavs kept it close in the second quarter, too — even taking a one-point lead and trading it a few times before the Warriors closed out the half on a 5-0 run in the final 1:22 of the quarter to take a nine-point lead into the halftime.
Golden State, though. broke the game wide-open in the third. The Warriors’ lead went up to 13 points in the opening minutes and was at 21 by quarters end.
As the game unfolded as it did, the Cleveland crowd painted a clear picture. As tipoff, the energy was loud and energized and into what could be James’ final game with the Cavs. As the Warriors took over, however, the crowd became quieter and quieter. A smattering of boos hit the team near the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, the Cavs fans who didn’t leave sat silently, as James and the four teammates on the floor with him went through the motions.
The last pop of the night came with 4:03 to go, when James checked out for good with 23 points. As he left, the remaining crowd stood one last time, giving James one last MVP chat as he sat down and watched the end of the game from the bench.
All that was left was for the Warriors, for the second time in four seasons, to run out out the clock and celebrate on James’ floor.