CLEVELAND — With LeBron James producing a pedestrian effort by his King-like standards Friday night, the Cavaliers needed plenty of reinforcements to stave off elimination in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
As has been the case for much of the series — and really, the postseason — none arrived.
Once again, James was pretty much forced to go it alone, and with him not at his best, the result was a predictable one, as Golden State blew out Cleveland 108-85 to win its third title in four years.
Kevin Love and J.R. Smith were the top performers from the King’s court, combining for 23 points — the same total as James — but neither was effective enough to make a difference.
Love scored 13 on 4-of-13 shooting and added nine rebounds. He scored only four points in the second half.
“Getting swept and losing on your home floor ... we’re going home for the summer,” Love said. “None of it is ideal. You have to tip your hat to the Warriors. They played great basketball.”
Smith was also in double figures, but shot poorly as well, connecting on 3-of-8 from the field and going scoreless in the second half.
George Hill, who missed a crucial free throw at the end of regulation in a devastating Game 1 loss at Golden State, didn’t score a point in the first half and finished with only three on 1-of-7 shooting.
Once again, the Warriors made Kyle Korver a non-factor.
The sharpshooting guard was anything but, going scoreless for the second time in the series and missing all six of his shots — five from 3-point land.
Over the four games, Korver scored four points, making 1 of 16 shots, including a 1-for-11 clip from 3-point range.
Rodney Hood, who returned to the rotation and scored 15 points in Game 3, was in double figures again in Game 4 (10 points), but he was 4-of-14 from the field.
Tristan Thompson was bullied inside and scored only six points and had two rebounds. Jeff Green went 2-for-8 for five points.
No one, including James, did a whole lot in the third quarter, as the Warriors turned a nine-point lead at halftime into a 21-point advantage by outscoring the Cavs 25-13.
“It’s been our Achilles’ heel the whole year,” Love said of poor third-quarter efforts. “(The Warriors) just showed a lot of effort and a lot of grit, especially in that third quarter. They were just hitting from all over the court. It was a tough third quarter for us.”
Though they were swept and the series wasn’t real competitive, the Cavs took solace in at least having a chance to win a couple of games.
“There were two games that were very winnable,” coach Ty Lue said. “Being up one in Game 3 with three minutes left, having a chance to win with a free throw in regulation in Game 1. Despite how good their team is, I thought our guys did a good job of competing. We still have to improve and get better, which we will, but we’re not that far off.”
The improvements may or may not come with James on the roster. Few, if any, know whether he will return to Cleveland next year — including his longtime teammate Love.
“I’m sure he’ll spend some time with his family and when it comes time for him to make a decision, he’ll be in a good frame of mind,” Love said. “Obviously, I’d like to play with ’Bron the rest of my career, but it’s going to be a choice that he makes. That’s it.”
Following the game, James confirmed he played the last three games with an injured hand that he sustained punching a board after the Game 1 defeat.
Smith, Korver and Thompson deserted James after the Game 4 loss, leaving Quicken Loans Arena without speaking to the media.
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