CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The top-seeded Golden State Warriors rediscovered their scoring touch and tied the NBA Finals at 2-2 with a momentum-stealing 103-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in Game Four.
NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, and Andre Iguodala each had 22 points for Golden State as the Warriors breathed new life into their title hopes by avoiding their first three-game skid of the season.
”We controlled the tempo and rhythm of the game,“ said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. ”It’s not just about playing hard. It’s about playing every single possession like it’s your last.
“And I thought tonight our effort took a step up and that’s why we were able to win.”
Cleveland’s Timofey Mozgov had a game-high 28 points while LeBron James, who went down hard in the second quarter after slamming his head on a camera, finished with 20 points on 7-of-22 shooting.
Game Five is scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.
Like the last two games, the Warriors stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 7-0 in the first three minutes before taking an early timeout to regroup. From there, the Warriors found their rhythm.
Curry helped cut the deficit with a pair of three pointers and Golden State closed the quarter with an impressive 14-4 run to build a 31-24 lead that set the tone the rest of the way.
The Warriors, showing glimpses of the run-and-gun offense that was absent for much of the last two games, kept their foot on the gas during the second quarter where they built a 15-point lead with about four minutes to go before the break.
Cleveland then got a scare when James, the best player of his generation, hit his head on a camera along the baseline after a foul by Andrew Bogut caused him to lose his balance.
James, who suffered a cut to his head on the play, stayed down for a while as the home crowd went silent but remained in the game.
“I was just trying to regain my composure, and I was holding my head. It was hurting,” said James, who missed three of his next four free throws after the incident. “I was just hoping I wasn’t bleeding. But obviously the camera cut me pretty bad.”
Iguodala made the most out of his first start of the campaign with his best offensive performance of the season along with eight rebounds and a solid job defending James.
Trailing by 12 to start the half, Cleveland got to within three points when James emphatically threw down an impressive alley-oop dunk on a pass from Matthew Dellavedova to cap a 12-2 Cavs run with five minutes to play in the third.
But the Warriors, playing with a sense of desperation, were never tested the rest of the way as they cruised through the fourth quarter and had many fans heading to the exits with five minutes left in the game.
The performance could not have come at a better time for the Warriors as none of the 32 teams who have fallen behind 3-1 in the NBA Finals have come back to win the series.
“Tonight we came in with the mentality that, obviously, like we were saying, we had to win this game,” Curry told reporters. “It was about effort and consistent effort every possession.”
Editing by Ian Ransom/Sudipto Ganguly/Amlan Chakraborty