The Latest: Game 4 gets intense between Warriors, Cavs
CLEVELAND (AP) The Latest on Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers (all times local):
Things are getting tense as the Golden State Warriors start to pull away in Game 4.
Warriors forward Draymond Green just had a heated exchange with LeBron James with under three minutes to play in the game. Golden State leads by eight points, 96-88 with less than 2 minutes to play.
It was a rare show of emotion like that from James, who almost never engages an opponent in that way. They were whistled for double fouls, a break for Green.
Green has to be careful because he is two technical fouls and one flagrant away from a one-game suspension.
Finally, an NBA Finals game coming down to the wire. The first three games were blowouts, but Game 4 has the makings of a classic.
It's been a physical game, with the referees letting both sides play and the tension has been palpable. The Cavaliers trail 93-84 midway through the final period, knowing full well a 3-1 deficit in the series would be almost impossible to overcome on their way back to Oakland.
The Warriors won the first two games by 48 points and the Cavs responded with a 30-point win in Game 3.
Anderson Varejao was a fan favorite in Cleveland for years thanks to his hustle and grit. They would chuckle at the wild-haired flopper every time he baited an opposing player into another foul.
That changed quickly in the third quarter of Game 4 when he pulled out all of his old tricks for the Warriors. Varejao started the season with the Cavaliers, but was traded when in February. He signed with the Warriors and had three offensive rebounds to help them take a 79-77 lead into the fourth quarter.
Varejao drew boos from the once adoring crowd when he pulled down Kevin Love under the basket and got Love to get whistled for the foul.
Stephen Curry has 25 points and Klay Thompson 21 for Golden State.
Kyrie Irving has 27 points and LeBron James had 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, two dimes shy of his seventh career triple-double in the finals.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have officially arrived at the NBA Finals. They are a combined 10 for 15 from 3-point range. Curry has 23 points and Thompson has 21 about midway the third quarter, the first time in four games that either of them have hit the 20-point mark.
Curry just hit his sixth 3 of the game to give the Warriors a 72-69 lead. Golden State has 14 3s, three away from setting a finals record.
But the Cavaliers are hanging tight. Kyrie Irving is up to 23 points and LeBron James is in playmaking mode with 12 points on only six attempts and eight assists.
Kyrie Irving has 16 points to help the Cavaliers take a 55-50 lead into halftime of Game 4 against the Warriors.
Irving has made 6 of 10 shots while playing with his right thumb wrapped in tape. J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson have 10 points each for the Cavs and LeBron James has seven points, five rebounds and five assists. The Cavaliers have grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and Kevin Love has seven points off the bench.
The Splash Brothers have come to play for the Warriors after struggling in the first three games. Stephen Curry has 14 points and has hit 3 of 5 3-pointers and Klay Thompson has 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting.
The game has been tense and back-and-forth all half following three straight blowouts.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr likes to say that the Warriors can play anyone at any time.
He proved it again early in Game 4.
James Michael McAdoo was in the first-quarter rotation, after not playing a single second in any of Golden State's last 12 games. It was his first time appearing in the first quarter of a game since Game 5 of the Warriors' first-round series against Houston.
''He's fast, he's active and in this series they've gone pretty small so he fits in well,'' Kerr told ABC's Doris Burke at the quarter break.
McAdoo made an impact: He had a nifty move for a dunk late in the quarter, his first basket of these playoffs.
Stephen Curry went 2 for 3 from 3-point range and scored eight points in the first quarter to help the Golden State Warriors take a 29-28 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers after one quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Curry has struggled in the first three games of the series, but teamed with Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson to go 5 for 7 on 3s.
Kyrie Irving has nine points and three assists, Tristan Thompson has eight points and six rebounds and Kevin Love has four points off the bench for Cleveland, which is trying to tie the series at two games apiece.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has changed up his rotation slightly, going to seldom-used James Michael McAdoo with the second unit over Festus Ezeli. The move is a reaction to the Cavaliers going small with Love at center in their second unit and gives the Warriors a little more quickness on defense.
Kevin Love has entered the game to a rousing ovation. Love came off the bench for the first time in six years after returning from concussion, and he was inserted into the game with five minutes to go in the first quarter.
The home crowd greeted Love warmly after he sat out Game 3. There was talk that the Cavaliers were better off without Love after beating the Warriors by 30 in Game 3, but the defensively challenged forward helped force a steal on the Warriors' first possession, had a good contest on a jumper from Harrison Barnes on the next and then scored on a putback to give the Cavs a 22-20 lead before the Warriors tied it again at 22.
Nyle DiMarco - the `Dancing with the Stars' winner who is deaf - helped perform the national anthem before Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.
DiMarco signed the anthem, which was sung by the fans who filled Quicken Loans Arena in what's become a Cleveland tradition.
Meanwhile, for the first time since April 2010, Kevin Love is going to play in a game that he doesn't start. Coach Tyronn Lue said Love would play, but made the call to keep Richard Jefferson in the starting lineup.
''This is what you're paid for, if you're Ty Lue, to make these hard decisions,'' ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said on the national broadcast.
A down-to-the-wire matchup in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night might be fun for fans and viewers.
It might seem a bit foreign to the teams involved, though.
Golden State and Cleveland haven't played many nailbiters in these playoffs. The Warriors have been in just two games decided by five points or less in the postseason, Cleveland has been in only three - and two of those were in April against Detroit.
Here's a breakdown of margins of victory for the Cavs and Warriors in these playoffs:
- Games decided by five points or less: Warriors 1-1, Cavaliers 3-0.
- Games decided by 10 points or less: Warriors 6-2, Cavaliers 4-1.
- Games decided by 11 points or more: Warriors 8-4, Cavaliers 9-3.
Kevin Love is back in the NBA Finals.
It's unknown if he's back in Cleveland's starting lineup.
Love was cleared to play Friday night for Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. He got a concussion in Game 2 of the series and missed Game 3 on Wednesday night.
He could come off the bench. Love's last time as a reserve was April 14, 2010 for Minnesota against Detroit. He's been a reserve 82 times in his career, and his teams were 24-58 in those games.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says Love's return will affect Golden State's lineups at certain times, but that it won't lead to major changes in how his team wants to play Friday night.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr knows the anguish that Cleveland has felt in its 52-year drought without a major sports title.
He actually felt that pain a few times.
Kerr spent parts of four seasons playing for Cavaliers from 1989 through 1992, and confessed that during his time in Cleveland he actually became a converted Browns fan.
Kerr said he made some great friendships when he played in Cleveland. He went to the playoffs twice with the Cavaliers, ousted in the 1992 Eastern Conference finals by the Chicago Bulls.
''We kept running into the Bulls unfortunately, but it was a great three-and-a-half years for me and my wife and we really enjoyed living here,'' said Kerr, who still has family living in Cleveland.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says Kevin Love has not been cleared to play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
That could change in the next 90 minutes.
Love walked into the arena as Lue was giving his pregame remarks. The plan is for Love to meet with a doctor to see if he has completed every step as laid out in the NBA concussion protocol.
Lue said Love will play if he's cleared. He would not say if Love will start.
Love got a concussion in Game 2 of this series against Golden State, and missed Game 3 of the series.
In his sixth straight NBA Finals, the Cavaliers forward named James was the first player on the floor before Game 4.
No, not LeBron.
James Jones, who has been LeBron James' teammate for six years in a row, was on the court at Quicken Loans Arena more than three hours before tip-off working on his game. Jones has played sparingly this season - only 51 minutes in 10 postseason games - but he's been a leader to Cleveland's younger players and is considered one of the NBA's nicest guys.
The 13-year veteran, nicknamed ''Champ,'' showed little rust from his lack of playing time, drilling 3-pointers from several feet behind the line, as per usual.
Jones played with James from 2010-14 in Miami, winning two NBA titles and getting to the finals four years in a row. He and James made it back to the finals last season before losing to Golden State in six games.