Near the end of the first quarter in the Cavaliers’ 137–116 win in Game 4 of the Finals on Friday night, as the Quicken Loans scoreboard started panting from the effort needed to keep pace with all the home team’s points, color commentator Jeff Van Gundy joked that when he was coaching, he would have been happy with Cleveland’s total in twice the amount of time. He was more accurate than he probably realized: Van Gundy coached 69 playoff games with the Knicks between the 1995–96 and 2000–01 seasons. In those games, the Knicks averaged 87 points. On Friday, the Cavaliers scored 86 in the first half.
As we try to make sense of what transpired in Cleveland and prepare for a return of 3–1 jokes and a flight back to Oakland, here are 10 more statistical nuggets about the Cavs’ frenetic output:
- The Cavs scored the most points in any quarter in NBA Finals history (49), then 12 minutes of gameplay later, recorded the highest-ever point total in a championship half (86).
- In LeBron James’s first Finals — a 2007 sweep courtesy of the Spurs — his Cavs never scored more than 30 points in any quarter and averaged only 80.5 points per game.
- In the first half on Friday, the Cavs scored 86 points on 61 percent shooting. In the first half of the All-Star Game in February, the Eastern Conference team scored 92 points on 58 percent shooting.
- With 68 first-half points, the Warriors achieved their highest total in any half in these Finals. They still trailed by 18 points.
- The Warriors had set the all-time Finals record with 18 made 3-pointers in Game 2 last week. The Cavaliers tied that record with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter and set a new one exactly one minute later.
- Cleveland finished the game with 24 made 3s; Kyrie Irving led the way with seven, while Kevin Love added six and J.R. Smith added five. Until garbage time, the only Cavalier to attempt a 3 without making one was Richard Jefferson.
- When Michael Jordan won his first title in 1991, the Bulls made five 3s on 21 attempts in the entire five-game series.
- Until the last two minutes when the benches emptied, eight Cavaliers had attempted a shot. Every one of them shot at least 50 percent.
- Even Deron Williams, who had gone scoreless in the series by missing all 11 of his shot attempts through the first three games, added five points on 2-of-3 shooting. He now has five career points in the Finals, which is more than Steve Nash, Chris Webber, and Pete Maravich. (And that’s the saddest sentence anyone can write about these Finals.)
- Consider the 1985 Celtics. Until Cleveland moved to the top of the leaderboard, that Boston team held the record for most points in a first half in NBA Finals history (sounds familiar). Those Celtics were in a rematch series featuring the two best players in the world, and they were playing against a team they had defeated in seven games the previous year (sounds familiar). They went on to lose the series anyway (will soon sound familiar, likely as early as Monday night).