Golden State's Green embraces role of NBA Finals heel

Yet the one thing that could prove to be sustainable is the dominant Batman/Superman act that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have shown us they're capable of pulling off. Irving had a game-high 40 on Friday, while James finished with a 31-point triple-double.

The outspoken 27-year-old will try to help the Warriors, who lead this year's best-of-seven series 3-1, defeat the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday in Oakland to capture the crown.

Game 3, minus the exhausted ending, and Game 4 were reminders they're still the Cavs of the 2016 postseason, a team that can shoot threes and rebound around James and Irving well enough to win games going away.

Both the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the Bay Area for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors lead 3-1 with Game 5 set for Monday night at Oracle Arena.

"That's part of who we are", James said.

The quarter closed with a 3-ball from Curry with 12 seconds to go, answered by one from James with 2.7 seconds remaining.

"You give us a day in-between, and we were ready to come out, especially me because that taste wouldn't have been the same if we would have lost and they would have celebrated on our home floor, so I'll just leave that at that". It's an encouraging one for the Cavaliers, trying to be the first team to rally from 3-0 down to win a playoff series.

But talk from the Warriors about popping champagne corks and celebrating an National Basketball Association title on Cleveland's home court for the second time in three seasons inspired Kyrie Irving to do something to prevent it.

James and Durant had a heated verbal exchange for an extended stretch midway into the third quarter while referees were reviewing a foul by Love on Durant, but they slapped hands when they returned to play. Cleveland fans chanted as they walked toward the exits.

However, don't compare last year's Game 4 to this one, the Warriors aren't into your 3-1 talk.

Everything's on hold in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors have been led in the Finals by Kevin Durant, the ground-shaking free-agent acquisition from last season who was the 2014 MVP and has perhaps reshaped the GoldenState-Cleveland rivalry forever.

"Thank God I get to play in game five".

It's 3-1 in the NBA Finals again.

James, though, wouldn't concede the Cavs have the Warriors right where they want them. It started with 6:18 left in the quarter when Green appeared to pick up his second technical. It probably will take another gargantuan performance from James and Irvings in Game 5 to keep the series going.

Golden State's Draymond Green was whistled for a technical foul in the first half.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played for a couple dynasties himself with the Chicago Bulls and Spurs, was on the 72-win Chicago team in 1996 that built a 3-0 lead over the Seattle SuperSonics in the Finals. "Obviously we haven't felt this feeling walking off the court with a loss in a while, but we have done a good job of bouncing back and being resilient all year and obviously learning from all different experiences we have been through". We all know that. "I don't think they're necessarily a more physical team, but they were the aggressors, they came out, hit us first, and they deserved to win because of that physicality and aggressiveness".

"We have to come back home", he said.

  • Julie Sanders