Henry Abbott: (8:56 PM ET ) It's alive! Game 4 is about to tip off, and once again there are flames leaping from the scoreboard. And once again, say hello to ESPN's Dr. Jack Ramsay and David Thorpe.
Henry Abbott: (9:06 PM ET ) A couple of fun little tidbits to consider:
-LeBron James, of course, did not sleep much last night, I imagine. He had a baby slightly after midnight. Maybe that doesn't matter, maybe it does.
-In the crowd here (loud again, but maybe not QUITE as loud) are 15 Lost Boys of Sudan, courtesy of Ira Newble.
David Thorpe: (9:14 PM ET ) We've seen this script before. 3 times already. We know the ending. I've not seen any aggressive traps, nor a personnel change, from Cleveland. They have to hope to really shoot the ball well to have a chance.
Henry Abbott: (9:15 PM ET ) I think about Jack McCallum's book Seven Seconds or Less ... how much effort the Suns team puts into giving shooters confidence. Such a huge part of being a good shooter is believing you'll make the shot. If the Cavaliers are really going to have a night where they believe they're going in, then of course they can win. On the other hand, Tim Duncan is 0-3 from the floor, and 0-2 from the foul line.
David Thorpe: (9:15 PM ET ) The Spurs just want to hang around, keep the score close. Weather the energy storm early.
David Thorpe: (9:17 PM ET ) Exactly Henry, which is why I postulated that the Cavs would take the wraps off their offense in game 2. It's easier to make shots when there are more possessions.
Dr. Jack: (9:18 PM ET ) Cavs have five second-chance points already. But I don't see anything different in LeBron's game. Duncan 0-3 FG, 0-2 FT. In the same funk he was in during Game 3.
David Thorpe: (9:19 PM ET ) Ilgauskas is being a pest when Duncan is posting with the ball. Nice!
Henry Abbott: (9:21 PM ET ) Land ho! A LeBron James made jumper. He's had about as many of those as he has had children during this series.
David Thorpe: (9:22 PM ET ) James has the mid-range jumper any time he wants it. He needs a good number of them to drop.
David Thorpe: (9:22 PM ET ) It's his 4th made jumper of the series.
David Thorpe: (9:23 PM ET ) The first energy storm has died.
Henry: (9:24 PM ET ) That makes it a 4/1 made jumper/infant ratio. If he can get that to 12/1, I say Cavs win.
Dr. Jack: (9:25 PM ET ) Cavs haven't shot a free throw yet ... Spurs are just 3-7 from the line.
Henry: (9:25 PM ET ) You are right about the energy. This crowd won't get loud without a tie or better. That's too bad. They want the team to lead them in making it exciting. Sometimes the crowd can lead the team. Missed opportunity.
Henry: (9:30 PM ET ) Good for Donyell Marshall making something happen, despite the fact that he has not been shooting at all well.
David Thorpe: (9:32 PM ET ) Remember in the Nets-Raptors series when Lawrence Frank ran his offense through Jason Kidd in the low post? And he got lots of rebounds, plus his normal bushel of assists? I'd like to see LBJ try the same thing. Seeing him live on the perimeter pains me. And brings joy to the Spurs.
David Thorpe: (9:37 PM ET ) James has zero offensive rebounds in Cleveland in the Finals. Less than Tony Parker, but equal to Eva Longoria's total.
Dr. Jack: (9:38 PM ET ) Pop is going to his reserves. Bowen is the only Spurs starter on the floor.
Henry Abbott: (9:39 PM ET ) A fast break would be nice too. Seems like the Spurs are willing to foul to stop any of that silliness.
David Thorpe: (9:42 PM ET ) My esteemed collegue at The PTC at IMG, Coach Mike Moreau, just texted me with a great point. Where are the hard fouls by the Cavs? Parker and Ginobili get uncontested layups, when the Cavs mantra should be "no unMOLESTED layups". Rick Mahorn is silently sobbing somewhere.
Henry Abbott: (9:42 PM ET ) David are you sure? I thought Eva had a couple of O-boards in Game 2.
David Thorpe: (9:45 PM ET ) See how deep TD caught that ball? I'm convinced LBJ could do the same-run him to the rim and play Marshall at the 5 when TD is out.
Henry: (9:51 PM ET ) A huge percentage of Jacque Vaughn's contributions to the Spurs involve fouls -- those he draws, those he commits that are uncalled, and even those that he commits that are called but stop a good play.
Dr. Jack: (9:53 PM ET ) LeBron needs to make a quicker move to the basket. After he receives the ball he needs to drive it ... not hold it.
Henry: (9:58 PM ET ) Eric Snow has twice as many points as Tim Duncan.
David Thorpe: (10:00 PM ET ) Big Z is impacting the game vs. Duncan the way Nene did. Interesting to see if that will continue.
Henry: (10:01 PM ET ) John Hollinger points out that Tony Parker has not missed a shot yet (he's 6-6) while Duncan hasn't made one.
Henry: (10:02 PM ET ) (Duncan has hit two free throws, of course.)
David Thorpe: (10:10 PM ET ) The fact that LBJ finally posts up and scores with ease only enrages me more, and bemuses the Spurs.
Henry: (10:13 PM ET ) Cleveland had some things go their way in the first half, but in the end it's still the same old story at halftime. The closest fan to me is wearing his Rise Up shirt, he has that flashing red light pinned to his chest. But he's yawning.
Dr. Jack: (10:14 PM ET ) Very poorly played game by both teams. If it weren't for Parker, the Spurs wouldn't have anything going. Duncan has eight rebounds, but is 0-5. LeBron is 4-13 ... the Cavs next best scorer is Gibson with five. The Spurs aren't playing that well, but the Cavs can't win playing like this. LeBron really has to get it going ... and bring the rest of the team with him, The rest of the Cavs are not good enough to generate their own offense.
Dr. Jack: (10:15 PM ET ) I don't understand why the Cavs are not playing at a faster ... more aggressive pace on offense. LeBron has one post up score, one drive and two jumpers.
Henry: (10:32 PM ET ) David, they're reading your comments in the Cavs' locker r
oom apparently. LeBron post up on his first possession.
Henry: (10:33 PM ET ) And second.
Henry: (10:37 PM ET ) Tony Parker can really finish. What's the drill to practice finishing while getting mauled? And how bad do you hurt after doing 100 of those?
Henry: (10:37 PM ET ) Did Drew Gooden just wave off LeBron James?
Henry: (10:41 PM ET ) Assuming Thorpe is right and the Spurs are thrilled James is not posting up more, if you're Gregg Popovich, and you are tight with Mike Brown, at some point this summer do you admit that to him? Or is that a trade secret that supercedes friendship?
Henry: (10:43 PM ET ) Also, I meant to point this out earlier. But did anyone notice how good it looked when Eric Snow played pick and roll with Ilgauskas? Snow is vigorous coming off the screen, and does so with room and a lot of options.
Henry: (10:45 PM ET ) Regarding Gooden waving off LeBron James -- word is he was waving Ilgauskas through the lane.
Henry: (10:48 PM ET ) The halftime show was the amazing Krystal Liu of the Red Panda Acrobats. Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIECdLtVTwA Super stat expert Dan Rosenbaum stopped by, and we watched together. She rides a massively high unicycle while flipping bowls from her ankle, into the air, and having them land in a neat stack balanced on her head. That's the simple version. Watch the video. Rosenbaum declared her the most talented human. Period. End of story.
David Thorpe: (10:48 PM ET ) The Finals have a long history of players performing at a higher level than they ever had previously. It is a club filled with Hall-of Famers and guys who just had some special games. Tony Parker, welcome to the club.
Dr. Jack: (10:48 PM ET ) Tony Parker is the whole thing for the Spurs. The Cavs aren't looking to attack. Both teams are playing slow motion...like they're playing in sand. Parker and Ginolbili have 32 of their 51 points. None of the other Spurs has more than one field goal.
Henry: (10:51 PM ET ) Wow. Only two Spurs are scoring, and yet they are up double digits.
Henry: (10:54 PM ET ) Daniel Gibson shot over a double team with a wide open LeBron James in the corner. Not that James has been on fire from downtown.
Henry: (10:56 PM ET ) Manu just KISSED the ball. I'd like to see the slow motion replay of that. Make sure it really happened.
Henry: (11:00 PM ET ) It seems Donyell Marshall has decided shooting three-pointers will not be his thing tonight.
Henry: (11:03 PM ET ) Refs picked a weird time to get picky about the stolen tip. People have been stealing the tip on its way up all season.
Dr. Jack: (11:05 PM ET ) The Spurs are leaving the door open. They're 12-24 from the line ... 50 percent.
Their three best players are 8-19 from the line.
David Thorpe: (11:07 PM ET ) Who said "this feels like deja vu all over again"?
Dr. Jack: (11:07 PM ET ) Pop is really rolling the dice here with Vaughn, Bowen, Barry, Duncan and Horry.
Henry: (11:11 PM ET ) LeBron the point guard. That's the plan for now. Wonder if Manu and Tony come back on the floor now. This little Cleveland run has happened while San Antonio has all cold scorers on the floor.
Henry: (11:13 PM ET ) Getting louder in here.
Henry: (11:13 PM ET ) Tony is back. Still no Manu.
Henry: (11:16 PM ET ) Welcome back Manu.
Henry: (11:18 PM ET ) Attention basketball fans. Good time to turn your TVs back on.
Henry: (11:19 PM ET ) Only player still seated on the Cavs bench is Drew Gooden. David Wesley is a foot or two onto the court.
David Thorpe: (11:20 PM ET ) Energy storm number 2.
Henry: (11:21 PM ET ) Donyell Marshall can't buy a three. That is too bad. Sounds like I'm joking, but honestly, a good shot doctor could do wonders for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
David Thorpe: (11:22 PM ET ) Cavs need to try anything possible to build a decent margin. If the Spurs are within 5 with 2 to play they'll feel like it is their game.
David Thorpe: (11:26 PM ET ) We work on "splitting screens" often. Manu was great on that one.
David Thorpe: (11:26 PM ET ) End of energy storm #2?
Henry: (11:26 PM ET ) Glad to see Damon Jones on the floor. Not sure why exactly, but the Cavaliers have been better with him on the floor. I think one reason is that his presence compels the Spurs to think of Bruce Bowen as a go to scorer. I don't care how bad Jones is on D, it's a win for Cleveland when Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan stand around watching Bowen go to work.
Henry: (11:28 PM ET ) That time Manu definitely did wave off Tim Duncan.
Henry: (11:29 PM ET ) Spurs seem not to notice that Damon Jones is guarding Manu Ginobili.
Henry: (11:30 PM ET ) The first wave of fans are headed for the exits. What's especially amazing about that is that the traffic is not SO bad in Cleveland, even after the game.
David Thorpe: (11:32 PM ET ) They've seen this script, and its' ending, before.
Henry: (11:33 PM ET ) Energy storm well gone.
Henry: (11:34 PM ET ) Also on the agenda for LeBron's off-season: ball-handling drills.
Henry: (11:36 PM ET ) Not with a bang but a whimper. They're covering the Spurs lockers with plastic right now I'd imagine, so they don't get champagne on those expensive clothes.
David Thorpe: (11:37 PM ET ) Good thing Mike Brown was not coaching the Lakers in game 6 of the '80 Finals. Think he would have played Magic at center over whoever played that position all season?
Dr. Jack: (11:38 PM ET ) Tony Parker is my NBA Finals MVP
Henry: (11:38 PM ET ) I'm guessing Duncan's off night will make Tony Parker the Finals MVP in everyone's book.
David Thorpe: (11:38 PM ET ) Parker!!
Henry: (11:41 PM ET ) This is a very sweet moment for Michael Finley. He chose the right team to sign up with as a free agent a couple of years ago.
David Thorpe: (11:41 PM ET ) When I watched Iverson in his Finals appearance I thought it'd be the only time he'd make it. James is younger, but I have my doubts that we'll see him here as often as most people think.
Henry: (11:43 PM ET ) Shannon Brown checks in. NOW we get experimentation? 7.5 seconds left? Guess he's here to foul somebody, which will give him, until he's back here next, a miserable career stat line in the Finals.
Henry: (11:47 PM ET ) Brilliant Manu runs like a mad man and robs Cleveland of a whole extra possession in the "the foul game."
Henry: (11:48 PM ET ) Once again, Cleveland with a crippling lack of crunch time timeouts.
David Thorpe: (11:48 PM ET ) Thanks Henry-enjoyed it and the season immensely. Draft time and summer league up next.
Henry: (11:50 PM ET ) Michael Finley has the game ball and he is not giving it up. Tim Duncan is on a mission to hug everyone. Brent Barry is ready to party.
Henry: (11:53 PM ET ) Robert Horry now has more rings than anyone except Bill Russell and some of his Celtic teammates.
Henry: (11:54 PM ET ) David and Dr. Jack thanks very much. A tremendous honor to liveblog with great basketball minds.