The atmosphere was euphoric. The Cavaliers jumped out to a 7-0 start and their home crowd roared. Instead of riding that energy to a win, the series is tied going back to Cali.

The 1st quarter was out of control. Even though shots fell at a blistering pace, it was not the Eastern Conference rhythm that had worked so well. It was the type of high scoring the Warriors wanted to suck Cleveland into. The result was too many 3s on offense, and uncharacteristically allowing inside buckets via frantic fast-breaks.

Joey Crawford did not help, either. Everytime the NBA wants a circus, they call in their oldest, douchiest ref. It’s all personal for the erratic Crawford, who cannot even keep up anymore. The whole first half felt like a clown show, exactly the type of unorganized basketball Golden State excels at.

The Cavs trailed 12 at halftime.

Cleveland slowed the third quarter down to a much more suitable tempo. They grinded out each possession, chasing down shooters and collecting rebounds. With stops came transition chances and slowed-down opportunities. The big men, notably Timofy Mozgov, wore down the smaller Warriors. By the final minute, it was only a 2-3 point game.

Then, the Cavs came unglued. Apparently not learning from game three’s 4th quarter miscues, they again failed to cement the end of the 3rd or the final frame.

We let up on a Stephen Curry 3-try to trail six with one possession on the clock. LeBron James forced and missed a three, creating unnecessary separation in a game we’d almost tied. That lackluster focus carried over to the fourth where (without James, on the bench…?) we fell right back down ten. The rest of the night it was too much of a deficit to overcome.

The blueprint of Eastern Conference basketball has to be stuck to in order to win.