Andre Iguodala led Golden State offensively and defensively in his first start of the season, scoring 22 points as the Warriors won 103-82 at the Cleveland Cavaliers to even the NBA Finals at two games apiece.
Iguodala hit four 3-pointers and was the primary defender on LeBron James, who was held to 20 points, as the Warriors went with a smaller lineup after losing two straight games.
“We wanted to speed up the pace a little bit,” Iguodala said. “It worked tonight.”
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is set for Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
The smaller lineup used by the Warriors on Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena allowed Golden State to increase the tempo of the game and control the flow, though it permitted the Cavaliers to dominate under the basket -- 7-foot-1 Cleveland center Timofey Mozgov had 28 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was our tempo and we were able to withstand the rebounding barrage,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “The biggest difference was we played a lot harder. I thought the first three games they were the more competitive team.”
Stephen Curry added 22 points for the Warriors, who hit 12 3-pointers and shot 47 percent from the field. The Cavs’ guards -- starters Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova and reserve J.R. Smith -- combined to shoot 7-for-35 and hit just three of 22 3-pointers. Smith was 0-for-8 from behind the 3-point line.
James -- who had scored 44, 39 and 40 points in the first three games of the series -- cut his head late in the second quarter when he lost his balance and crashed into a courtside camera after getting fouled on a drive to the basket.
Cavs coach David Blatt said his team seemed tired playing its third game in five days, and that Cleveland’s poor outside shooting made James’s life much more difficult.
“The fact that we didn’t make shots tonight from the outside really had an impact on his ability to find seams and score,” Blatt said in a news conference. “We didn’t make shots, and that put a little bit more pressure on him.”
The Warriors, who haven’t lost three straight games all season, avoided the nearly impossible task of having to rebound from a three-games-to-one deficit in the Finals. Thirty-two teams have been down 3-1 in the National Basketball Association’s championship round, and none has rallied to win.