Cleveland Cavaliers top Golden State Warriors to stay alive in NBA Finals

CLEVELAND, June 9 (Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers staved off NBA Finals elimination and ended the Golden State Warriors' shot at an unprecedented perfect run through the playoffs with a gritty 137-116 win on Friday.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 40 points as the defending champion Cavaliers pulled to within 3-1 and forced the best-of-seven series back to Oakland.

The Cavaliers, who beat the Warriors in a decisive seventh game last year after trailing 3-1, are now trying to become the first NBA team to rally back from a 3-0 series deficit.

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NBA Finals - Game 4: Cavs defeat Warriors
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NBA Finals - Game 4: Cavs defeat Warriors
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors speak after a foul in the third quarter in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks to pass in the third quarter against Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors attempts a jump shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball over Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 9, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Iman Shumpert #4, Deron Williams #31 and Kyle Korver #26 of the Cleveland Cavaliers compete for the ball with Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors attempts a shot defended by LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is defended by Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a dunk in the third quarter against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers passes in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 9: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 9, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 9: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 9, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The rare feat has only been accomplished four times in the National Hockey League and once in Major League Baseball.

Kevin Durant led the way for the Warriors with 35 points.

The game was the most physical yet of the Finals, and even saw LeBron James and Durant come face-to-face at midcourt for a heated exchange while a play was being reviewed.

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Durant was upset after being accidentally slapped by Kevin Love on a block attempt and after a lengthy review Love was assessed a flagrant foul.

The top-seeded Warriors, who had won their first 15 games of the playoffs, will get another chance to close out the series in front of their home fans on Monday.

RELATED: An alternative look at the NBA Finals

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An alternative look at the NBA Finals
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An alternative look at the NBA Finals
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: A close up shot of Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 04: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court during pregame ceremonies prior to Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court for the National Anthem before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: The Golden State Warriors huddle up before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 1: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 1, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Iman Shumpert #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a three point basket against the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers boxes out Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 04: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up prior to Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles the ball up court against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Draymond Green #23 drives to the basket and passes the ball to Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers boxes out Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers grabs a rebound against the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Head Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors goes over a play before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 1: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a free throw against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 1, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 04: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by John Mabanglo/Pool/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket and shoots the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 1: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers high five before the game in Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 1, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors heads to the court before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors signs autographs for fans before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Cleveland, determined not to watch the Warriors celebrate a championship on their home court for the second time in three seasons, came out flying with a record-setting 86 points in the first half to lead by 18.

The Cavaliers' first-half output beat the previous mark of 79 points set in 1985 by the Boston Celtics.

Golden State's usually sharp-shooting offense was unable to find a rhythm all night and the Cavaliers never took their collective foot off the pedal and led by as many as 22 points late in the second quarter.

Whenever the Warriors looked like they might go on a run and start chipping away at the Cavaliers' lead the home side would respond admirably with either a rim-rocking dunk from James, a three-pointer from Irving or some tenacious defense. (Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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