On June 9th, 2017 the Quicken Loans Arena staff did something pundits would call “questionable” when they handed out black t-shirts to fans coming into the arena to view Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Even though the shirts had “Defend the Land” printed on them; black didn’t seem like the color one would usually associate with the kind of hope Cleveland needed. Then again, this isn’t a usual situation, a usual team, or a usual city. Nevertheless, the crowd embraced the shirts, waving them around reminiscent the “terrible towel” era of the Pittsburgh Steelers. And maybe, just maybe, that’s exactly what these Cavaliers needed.
After storming out the gates to an impressive 49 point quarter matched by an even more historic 86 point half, it was all but written that these Cav’s would live to fight another day. In the post-game interview, Cav’s Forward Tristan Thompson made it clear that Golden State was “Not about to punk us…Not about to punk Tristan Thompson”. Maybe a do or die situation is the motivation he needed with Game 4 being his best game of the finals so far(which isn’t saying much). But with the win, the Cav’s make the series 3-1. And with that comes all the jokes of last year’s Finals where we all know what happened. Diehard Cleveland fans will shout “Cav’s in 7!” with no actual evidence to back that claim outside of emotion and unwavering loyalty. But that’s why I’m here.
Ask yourself, has Golden State looked like world-beater’s these last two games? No. Game 3 was Cleveland’s to lose up until a horrendous last 45 seconds gifted the game to the Warriors. Make a shot or two and the game is over. Match that with the thumping they gave Golden State in Game 4 and it’s tied going back to Oakland. We can’t ignore games one and two, but exactly what did Golden State do that they weren’t supposed to do? You’re supposed to protect home court. These NBA playoffs as a whole have shown us you can trade home blowouts in a series. It happens. But give the Warriors credit. They came into Cleveland and stole one.
Now Cleveland has to go into Game 5 and take it back.
The new playoff series game spread helps the Cav’s as well. It now looks like “2-2-1-1-1”. Which means that if the Cav’s can survive game 5 they’re right back in “The Land” where they’re exponentially better and after these last two games, should be favored at home tying the series at 3-3. Bringing us to the much anticipated, anything is possible, Game 7. But the Cav’s need to take care of business in Game 5 first. The Warriors stars will come out like the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” to close the deal at home. But, with the emergence of J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson finally joining the series we see what the Cav’s can do when they are operating at full force.
I’m not here declaring blindly “Cav’s in 7!”. That would be irresponsible. But, after what we’ve seen in Game 4, from both teams…there’s a chance.