Yes, the 2017 NBA finals are still alive. The Golden State Warriors could not sweep the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers and go 16-0 in these playoffs. Rather, the Cavaliers took Game 4 at home and could redeem themselves, to some extent, in front of the basketball world. Kyrie Irving was the heart of a team that aspires to overcome a 1-3 deficit in the finals yet again

Warriors did not show up in Game 4

The Warriors' lackadaisical defense condemned them early in Game 4. The impression many players gave was that they were overconfident in closing the series that night and that the Cavaliers would simply give in.

The only Warriors player that showed up was Kevin Durant, but his 35 points could not light a spark under his team.

The Warriors conceded 49 points in the first quarter and 86 by the half (an NBA finals record). It was an uphill trip from the start for the Warriors. Their defense continued to be nowhere to be found. The Cavaliers came into Game 4 more focused and their intensity level threw the Warriors off guard.

The Cavaliers finally understood that they had to take the Warriors out of their game by being scrappy all night long. The Cavaliers became an irritant to the Warriors, and that is what many expected of them coming into the finals. Their chippy play on both ends of the floor halted the pace of the game and that is exactly what the Warriors do not need.

Golden State could never get into a fluent rhythm as a result.

The officials did not particularly help the Warriors either. It must be noted that the dubious officiating played a role in Game 4. The officials set the bar too low in terms of calling fouls in a game of the NBA finals. Several Warriors players picked up early fouls and this conditioned their ability to be more physical during the rest of the game.

The officials resorted to the Replay Center in several occasions and also confused the everyone with the non-ejection of Draymond Green. Apparently, the first technical foul was directed at coach Steve Kerr.

Can the Cavaliers do it again?

The Cavaliers set an NBA finals record with 24 three-pointers.

That says it all. The Cavaliers actually have more three-point shooters than the Warriors. They have not been efficient in the first three games of this series, but last night everyone was on point. However, the heart of Cleveland's team was Kyrie Irving. The player with the best handles in the NBA danced all night, finishing with finesse under the rim and pulling up to launch amazing jumpers all game long. Irving ended up with a game-high 40 points on 55.6 percent shooting from the field.

LeBron James also provided his fair share to the Cavaliers' spectacle thanks to another triple-double (31 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists). And yes, he threw the ball off the back board and finished with a spectacular dunk.

Kevin Love added 23 points, J. R. Smith 15 points, including five key three-pointers, and Tristan Thompson finally came to play in these finals, contributing with 10 rebounds and energy plays throughout the game.

Every time the Warriors made a push, the Cavaliers answered with a timely shot. They were in control of the game at all times, and that is rarely said when the Warriors are also on the floor. But Cleveland cannot be happy with avoiding being swept. They need Game 4 to be their statement and turning point in these NBA finals. The Cavaliers should take this inertia into Game 5 and take one game at a time moving forward.

However, truth is that the Cavaliers might have arrived at the party too late.

Had they played with this kind of intensity and chippy defense from the start of the series then we would be having a different conversation now. Hopefully for the Cavaliers' fans it is not too late. Thankfully for the Warriors' fans, the finals are back at Oracle Arena on Monday at 9 PM Eastern Time.

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