After two games of very un-Warriors basketball, the Warriors brought the pain in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, physically and mentally.
Tying the series 2-2 with a 103-82 victory, the Warriors found a solution for every problem they had in Games 2 and 3.
Stephen Curry was aggressive and hitting because the offense was moving and cutting. The Warriors were pushing the ball, forcing a tempo closer to what they’re used to and getting points in transition because of it.
Iguodala said the decision proves that the Warriors, along with the Cavaliers, are willing to do anything to win:
“Every playoff game is like a precious moment. Every possession, every timeout. You’ve got to be locked in, you’ve got to pay attention to any adjustments.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, along with his staff, made the decision to start Iguodala the morning of Game 4 but told media in the pregame press conference that undoubtedly Bogut would start.
Kerr said he lied to insure the lineup change would be a shock for the Cavaliers:
“If i tell the truth, it’s the equivalent of me knocking on David Blatt’s door and saying, hey, this is what we’re going to do … Sorry but I don’t think they hand you the trophy based on morality. They give it to yo if you win.”
This left Bogut as a body to come in and be a physical presence only, a role he slid into perfectly. So physical in fact that in a 2:04 span in the second quarter, Bogut picked up three fouls, including one on James that sent the King slamming his head onto a camera on the baseline. Blood drawn.
Of course, James and the Cavaliers wouldn’t let the Warriors off easily. After a 15-point Warriors lead in the second quarter, Cleveland came out of halftime, forced turnovers, dominated the glass and put together a 12-2 run to get right back into the game.
But with James on the bench to start the fourth, the Warriors found their offensive rhythm and once James returned Curry and Iguodala were hitting from deep, separating themselves from the Cavs by double-digits once again.
Kerr said the lineup change did exactly what the coaching staff expected it to do and he knew he had to do something or he would risk going down 3-1:
“We just felt like after three games, being down 2-1, we needed a change. We needed to shift the tempo, and that’s why we did it … Next game could be different. We may make some different adjustments and we’ll just play it by ear.”
The Warriors pulled away, leading by as many as 23 in the final minutes, allowing for the first garbage minutes of the Finals.
The Cavs couldn’t stop the bleeding (pun intended), and the Warriors took back the home court advantage.
The teams will travel back to the Bay Area with a practice day Saturday before the Warriors host Game 5 Sunday.