Kerr, Warriors stay true to their words

The Golden State Warriors' words came true. All of them.

They were undeterred after their 30-point loss in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, comforted by their 2-1 lead in the series, buoyed by their belief in themselves.

"I like our chances of being able to figure it out," Stephen Curry said during the one-day break between games.

Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined to make 44 percent of their 3-point shots during the regular season, were shooting 36 percent from long range through the first three games.

"Law of averages," Thompson said right after the Game 3 loss. "It will all even out."

Through it all was coach Steve Kerr, preaching calm, avoiding overreaction.

"All we have to do is take stock," Kerr said. "We're up 2-1. We're in pretty good shape. We haven't played that well. Let's play better."

Play better they did. They defended better, while the Cavaliers descended into Kyrie Irving and LeBron James taking turns going one-on-one. They fought back to win the rebounding battle, a category dominated by the Cavaliers in Game 3.

And yes, the Splash Brothers ascended to the mean, combining to make 11 3-pointers and score 63 points, with 38 of the points belonging to Curry.

"I told you," Thompson said on his way out of the arena. "Nobody listened to me."

Kerr might have been the one to doubt the most, given that he'd lied to the media in the middle of last year's NBA Finals when he said he wouldn't alter his starting lineup in the middle -- and then proceeded to make the lineup switch that propelled the Warriors to the championship.

"Last year I was a rookie coach," Kerr said. "I thought you had to answer everything."

This year he has simply declined to give answers when asked about his lineup plans in advance of games. But he did drop a hint of what to expect when he talked to the media Thursday when he said, "We're not afraid to play anybody."

He proved it by sending in James Michael McAdoo, who had played only two minutes in the previous two series, and not since Game 3 of the conference semifinals. Kerr wanted a quicker lineup when the Cavaliers went smaller with James and Kevin Love as the big men, so McAdoo came in with three minutes left in the first quarter. McAdoo was also on the floor to start the fourth quarter -- while Curry and Draymond Green sat out -- and the Warriors managed to take a three-point lead in an important three-minute stretch.

The key question now is if Green will have to sit out the entirety of Game 5 back in Oakland. He got into it with James after LeBron tried an Iversonian stepover on the fallen Green, who responded by flailing his arm twice. The first flail caught James between the legs. Even without an outright suspension, Green could draw an automatic suspension if the NBA decides to upgrade the act to a flagrant foul 1. Green has already accumulated three flagrant-foul points in these playoffs. The fourth point draws a suspension.

"Obviously our locker room has seen it, and we'll see what they say," James said.

In the Quicken Loan Arena hallways the Cavaliers fumed about the play, and you can bet they'll be furious if Green is in uniform Monday.

Green has been so important to the Warriors all season long, giving them the versatility to play smaller lineups without suffering on defense. He was their most important player in Game 2, when he scored 28 points.

His absence would be one more test for Curry, who had his most-valuable-player credentials questioned for his performance in the first three games, and finally responded by making 7-of-13 3-pointers in Game 4.

All that after social media spent the past two days mocking his new low-top signature Curry 2 shoes. He got a chance to respond after the game, joking that if he had a pair with him he would have played in them "and showed 'em how fire they are."

Yes, he saw all the "rebranded" names people came up with. His favorite, he said, was the "Changing Station 3's."

As a father, he could relate to that. And as as the high scorer in a Game 4 victory that brought the Warriors to the brink of back-to-back championships, he could laugh about it.