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Cavaliers vs. Warriors Game 5 TV Schedule, Live Stream Guide for 2017 NBA Finals

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives on Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and Klay Thompson (11) in the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Friday, June 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The NBA Finals return to 3-1. 

All of one year ago, the Golden State Warriors, coming off a historic regular season, held the same advantage against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The general consensus seemed simple at the time: LeBron James and the Cavaliers would fight with pride and maybe take another game or two before a graceful bow out of contention and into a question-riddled offseason.

Fans know how that eventual Hollywood-esque story ended.

Granted, this year seems different even after Cleveland's dominance in Game 4 thanks to the presence of Kevin Durant. But not too different—LeBron is LeBron.

Ahead of Monday's game, one thought unnecessary all of a few days ago, here's a look at the remainder of the Finals schedule:

  • Game 5: Cleveland at Golden State, Monday, June 12, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on WatchESPN
  • Game 6 (if necessary): Golden State at Cleveland, Thursday, June 15, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on WatchESPN
  • Game 7 (if necessary): Cleveland at Golden State, Sunday, June 18, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on WatchESPN

Looking at Game 4 in a vacuum, it's easy to think all of the above will be necessary.

The Cavaliers didn't just beat the Warriors in Game 4—they demolished them 137-116 in a complete role reversal. They came out firing and dropped a historic 49-point first quarter and never looked back, ruining Golden State's superb ball movement and high-percentage looks that made the first three games blowouts.

One could look at Golden State's shooting 28.2 percent from deep in Game 4 and call it a great shooting team going cold for a game, but it'd be doing a disservice to Cleveland's defensive effort. There's a reason the Warriors only had 26 assists compared to 30 or more in two of the opening three contests.

Cleveland's defense simply came out more physical than usual, something Golden State head coach Steve Kerr talked about after the fact. 

"It was just an incredibly physical game," Kerr said, according to ESPN.com's J.A. Adande. "That was obvious from the beginning. Ton of fouls called early, a lot of holding and grabbing and pushing and shoving. It got out of hand a little bit, and the third quarter it seemed like the game was stopping every time."

Pair the improved defense with the usual LeBron triple-double by way of 31 points, 10 boards and 11 assists, and it's not too hard to see why Game 4 went the way of a blowout in the other direction. 

Also critical, though, were the contributions of those around James. Kyrie Irving dropped 40 points over 41 minutes, outscoring both Stephen Curry (14) and Klay Thompson (13) on his own, 40-27. Kevin Love once again didn't dominate underneath the basket, but spacing the floor with 6-of-8 shooting from deep en route to 23 points provided a boost. Perhaps the biggest change of all? Three or more bench players actually pitching in with five or more points on decent shooting lines.

This spacing and aggression had the Cavaliers looking more like the Warriors than the Warriors themselves. Cleveland wound up shooting 53.3 percent from deep and breaking more than a few postseason records in the process, as captured by ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

The Cavaliers set a number of NBA Finals records in their Game 4 win over the Warriors. https://t.co/UpDyotacwT

Of course, the series heads back to Oakland Monday, where the Cavaliers will have to pull off similar feats to steal a win on the road. In front of a friendly crowd, the Warriors will look to get back to simply playing their game.

"Just one of those games," Curry said according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "Not going to overreact to one. Obviously I can play better and want to play better and will play better."

Said game produced the 3-0 lead in the first place. Durant dropped a triple-double or near misses in each contest while Curry dropped 26 points or more in each. And quietly, the Warriors weren't as live-or-die by the three as most thought considering they hit on 36.4 attempts from deep in a 113-91 Game 1 blowout. There, the Warriors had doubled up the Cavaliers in assists (31-15), stressing ball movement and transition play above all else.

Which way the war of wills trends in Game 5 isn't an easy tell, though oddsmakers out of Las Vegas don't have a problem throwing weight behind the Warriors in a nine-point spread, according to OddsShark.

The truth is probably somewhere closer to the middle in a competitive game where the Warriors adjust and start moving the ball better and the Cavaliers cool slightly from deep yet still carry the understanding of what worked in Game 4. 

Last year, 3-1 seemed easy enough to predict and was still worth a watch. This year? There's no excuse to turn away when one of the best modern rivalries in NBA history sits at 3-1 yet again.

           

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. Odds via OddsShark

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