Former Texas Longhorns star Kevin Durant found himself in a WWE style showdown in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.
Kevin Durant had a chance to win his first NBA Championship on Friday, but he had to settle for another outstanding individual performance in a 137-116 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4.
The Golden State Warriors were also seeking perfection in this year’s NBA Playoffs, having won their first 15 games. But, LeBron James and the Cavs were not going to let the Warriors pull off an Undertaker-like Streak on their home court.
Now, the scene shifts back to California for Game 5 on Monday night as Durant tries to win his first NBA Title. But, what we saw Friday night had all the makings of a WWE show.
What in the World Happened Friday Night?
Game 4 of the NBA Finals was a bizarre, circus show. The game was out of control from the start. Most notably, Draymond Green recorded two technical fouls, but then he did not.
Later, Zaza Pachulia low-blowed Iman Shumpert. In classic WWE fashion, apparently it was out of sight of the referees, as Zaza was not awarded a flagrant or ejected from the game. Then, a fan got tossed out of the arena and needed an NWO-style escort from courtside.
Also, Kevin Durant and LeBron James got into a verbal altercation while the refs reviewed a flagrant committed by Kevin Love on Durant. It seemed more discussion-oriented than trying to build to a match at the next PPV. But, it added more fuel to an already heated series between the Warriors and Cavs.
The circus-like atmosphere in Game 4 falls under the umbrella of the Warriors-Cavs trilogy, which is classic WWE storytelling. Golden State won the first match in the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cavs won the second match in the 2016 NBA Finals, and now TV ratings are skyrocketing for the deciding match in the 2017 NBA Finals.
You can go even deeper on this issue to the 2012 NBA Finals. LeBron James, having formed an NWO super faction in Miami, beat Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City in Durant’s first trip to the Finals.
Now, Durant has turned things around by forming his own super faction with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green to battle James’ new faction in Cleveland. That’s why the Durant vs. James matchup is so intriguing because of the multi-layered history over the past five seasons.
And, why Kevin Durant said earlier in the week that LeBron James “paved the way” for so-called ring chasing. Or, forming a super team to win an NBA Championship.
Kevin Durant Continues Record Pace in Game 4
Regardless of how the former Texas Longhorns star arrived at this point, Kevin Durant is playing like an elite, superstar NBA player.
- 35 points
- 4 rebounds
- 4 assists
- 2 blocked shots
- 9-22 FGs
- 15-16 FTs
KD’s main blemish was 2-9 on three-pointers. The Warriors as a whole were not great shooting the three, as Steph Curry also went 2-9.
Part of that was better effort from the Cavaliers on defense. That is, when the game did not break down into a WWE style fight.
One of the defensive leaders for Cleveland was fellow Longhorn Tristan Thompson, who was finally a factor in the series.
Thompson only recorded 5 points. But, more importantly, he recorded 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Thompson also logged 36 minutes, nearly doubling his Finals average in the low 20s.
There was also a moment late in the game when Durant and Thompson met at the rim. In this wild Game 4 environment, even a Texas vs. Texas battle was fair game.
How will Game 5 play out Monday night? Well, if you’re watching WWE Raw and the NBA Finals at the same time, you might see some similar elements involving Kevin Durant, the Warriors, and Cavaliers with an NBA Championship on the line.