Basketball: Warriors batter the Cavaliers in NBA Finals Game 4 to even the series at 2-2

A cut on the head of LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is seen in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday (June 11). -- PHOTO: AFP
A cut on the head of LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is seen in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday (June 11). -- PHOTO: AFP

The man they call King James looked like a mere mortal. The NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry looked more like his surname again - hotter.

That proved to be a recipe for disaster for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Golden State won a lopsided 103-82 victory in Game 4 of a back-and-forth NBA Finals in the US, as the Warriors decided not to stop and curtsy on the King's Court this time round.

Instead, Curry and Andre Iguodala teamed up to toss in 22 points for Golden State and take the wind out of the home team's sails; they return to Oakland for Game 5 with the best of seven series not just tied at 2 games apiece but, more importantly, with home court advantage back in their hands..

By contrast, LeBron James - who had scored 123 points in the first three games of the series than any player in history, the most in finals history - scored only 20 points in Game 4 on 7 for 22 shooting, as the Warriors double-teamed him in a move that appeared to make it tougher for him to finish his shots at the rim.

In fact, scoring honours for Cleveland went to the team's resident Russian, Timofey Mozgov. The 2.16 metre centre, acquired mid-season by the Cavalier's after a season-ending injury to their resident Brazilian, Anderson Verejao, had a game-high 28 points while LeBron James.

After a fast start in which the Cavs took a 7-0 lead, the energy appeared to go out of both James and the normally-pumped Cleveland crowd.

That was hardly surprising given the fans rafter-raising non-stop roaring in Game 3 two days earlier and the gruelling playoffs that saw Cleveland also lose both its second and third best players - Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love - to injuries.

The Warriors, on the other hand, appeared to have benefited from a 36-point fourth quarter two days earlier that nearly saw them overcome a 20-point Cavalier lead. They came back to go up 31-24 after the first quarter, and 54-42 at the half.

Cleveland clawed its way back into the game with a closing to within three points in the third quarter, when James slammed down an impressive dunk on an alley-oop pass from Australian crowd favourite Matthew Dellavedova to cap a 12-2 Cavs run.

But hearts stopped all over sold-out Quicken Loans arena, when Golden State's Australian Andrew Bogut, now a villain in Cleveland, steam-rolled into him near the net. James fell hard, gashing his head on a massive video camera.

The "best player on the planet", as ESPN sports TV and most newspapers call James, got up slowly and wrapped a towel round his head, but continued to play, but the hit seemed to be the last straw.

The Warriors never looked back after that. And with two of the last three games if necessary in Oakland, regained momentum as well as their mojo.

After the game, James, wearing a stylish hat over the deep cut in his scalp, said: "I was trying to regain my composure and I was holding my head, it was hurtin', I was just hoping I wasn't bleeding. But obviously the camera cut me pretty bad."

If there is any good news for Cleveland from the drubbing the team took in Game 4, it's that it appears James will be ready, and a little better rested, with two days off until their team tries to turn the series on its head again on Sunday night in Oakland, 8 am Monday Singapore time.