2015 NBA Finals: Game 4 Recap (2023)

Staring at a 2-1 deficit in the 2015 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors needed a huge road win in Game 4 to avoid falling into a deeper hole. Just as nobody predicted that Matthew Dellavedova would outplay MVP Stephen Curry through the first three games, nobody was prepared for Andre Iguodala to upstage LeBron James in Cleveland.

With a dominant 27-12 fourth quarter, the Warriors were able to tie the series up 2-2 with an impressive 103-82 win in Game 4. For the first time in the series, they looked like the same Warriors team that breezed through the Western Conference and won 67 games this season.

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Iguodala led the way with 22 points (8-of-15 shooting) and eight rebounds while “holding” LeBron James to 20 points (7-of-22 shooting), 10 rebounds and eight assists. The Warriors finally knocked down some three-pointers as well, going 12-for-30 from downtown (40 percent).

Stephen Curry had a strong final period, finishing with 22 points and six assists, while Draymond Green also came to life with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. A game after putting up a goose egg in the scoring column, Harrison Barnes regrouped with 14 points and eight boards. David Lee added nine points off the bench.

Timofey Mozgov led the Cavs with 28 points and 10 boards while Tristan Thompson added 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Cavs failed to adjust to new defensive coverages on LeBron.

At the start of the game, it seemed like Steve Kerr‘s gamble to go with a small-ball starting lineup wasn’t going to pay off. With the undersized Warriors missing open looks on one end and giving up easy baskets and offensive rebounds to Tristan Thompson on the other, the Cavs steamrolled their way to an early 7-0 lead, capped off by a highlight LeBron no-look, behind-his-head dish:

But after a timeout, the Dubs settled down, winning the battle on the glass and double-teaming LeBron James to prevent him from slowing down the tempo with iso-ball. As the pace began to pick up, the Warriors started gaining their confidence and knocking down the open looks they’ve been bricking all series.

Curry made his first three-pointer, Barnes and Iguodala knocked down open looks and Draymond Green got a lot more aggressive on the offense end. A Klay Thompson fadeaway jumper quickly gave the Dubs a 22-20 advantage — their first lead since Game 2.

Iguodala led the Warriors with nine first quarter points in his first start of the entire season, pushing the ball in transition for easy fast break dunks.

Going on a 14-4 run to end the period, the Warriors held a 31-24 lead over Cleveland at the end of the first — their first lead after any regulation quarter in this series.It also marked the first time in the series the Warriors scored more than 20 points in the first quarter.

Leandro Barbosa opened the scoring in the second quarter to extend Golden State’s lead to nine with LeBron on the bench, while David Lee continued to log important minutes off the bench. Andrew Bogut, who was replaced by Iggy in the starting lineup, didn’t see a single minute in the first half until halfway through the second quarter.

The benching of Bogut paid off in the second quarter, with the Dubs unleashing their three-point attack on one end and forcing anyone but LeBron to beat them on the other. A Draymond Green triple out of the pick-and-pop — something the Dubs have been missing all series — extended Golden State’s lead to 44-32 with 5:43 to play in the half, at which point Bogut checked in.

Draymond Green finally made a 3 & shouted, "I'm back!" #NBAFinals

— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) June 12, 2015

On a subsequent drive with Bogut on the floor, LeBron got fouled by the seven-foot Aussie and, slightly over-exaggerating the contact, took a tumble into the first row of cameramen on the baseline, opening up a gash when his head made contact with a camera. He stayed in the game after the trainers cleaned up the blood.

That incident didn’t stop Bogut from using his fouls, racking up three quick ones in just two minutes of action and a Timofey Mozgov layup cut Golden State’s advantage to 12. He led the Cavs in scoring at the half with 13 points, while LeBron and Thompson each added 10.

Draymond Green led the Warriors with 13 first half points, Iggy followed up with nine and the MVP had eight after a last-second layup in isolation to close the first second quarter, giving Golden State a 54-42 advantage at the break.

But according to reports, Matthew Dellavedova had his coffee at halftime, so even after Iguodala opened the third quarter scoring with a three to extend Golden State’s lead to 15, back-to-back threes from Delly cut it down to 11 and woke Quicken Loans Arena up.

The Cavaliers went on an 8-0 run midway through the third to cut Golden State’s lead to five, but a Delly alley-oop to LeBron James in transition sent the home crowd into a frenzy as the Warriors led 65-62 following Cleveland’s 12-2 run.

The Cavaliers pulled within one possession several times, outmuscling the Warriors in every facet of the game with sheer determination and strength on the boards. Cleveland out-rebounded Golden State 17-6 in the third quarter, but missed free throws prevented them from taking the lead.

Andre Iguodala’s aggressive play on offense was both a strength and a weakness for the Dubs in the third, with the Cavs giving him as much room to shoot as he wanted. But Iggy knocked down a few jumpers and even a pair of free throws to keep his team on top.

A much-needed step-back three from Stephen Curry to close the period gave the Warriors a precarious 76-70 lead heading into the fourth.

Getting back to their roots, the Warriors got the fourth quarter started off right with two quick transition buckets to extend the lead back to 10. Unfortunately for the small-ball Dubs, Draymond Green picked up his fourth and fifth fouls five minutes into the period.

However, Stephen Curry started to show signs of life, pushing the tempo when the Dubs hauled in defensive rebounds and even draining a huge stepback three that put Golden State up 15, tying their largest lead of the night to that point:

Iguodala continued the lead the Warriors, knocking down a pair of triples to extend the lead to 16 despite Mozgov keeping the Cavs in the game with his onslaught from the free throw line.

With the Cavaliers running on fumes, the Dubs just needed to deliver the knockout blow. Curry did exactly that when he froze the defense and danced his way to an easy finger roll layup that put Golden State up 98-79 with three minutes to play. Klay Thompson didn’t hesitate to let the crowd know how he felt about the Dubs finally playing like the Dubs again:

The Warriors’ streak of not losing three consecutive games all season long continued thanks to the crucial Game 4 victory. The victory also moved the Dubs to a staggering 57-0 on the season in games where they lead by at least 15 points at any point in the game.

With the series tied up 2-2, the Finals head back to Oracle Arena for Game 5 on Sunday.

Next: Stephen Curry: Top 10 Moments From His MVP Season

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