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Golden State evens NBA Finals, routing Cleveland by 21

CLEVELAND -- No panic, no playing around. Just California cool.

The Golden State Warriors simply did what they had to do, and now they're going home in the same shape as when they left - tied in the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala scored 22 points apiece and the Warriors, showing their depth and why they were the league's best team all season, squared the finals at 2-2 on Thursday night with a 103-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Game 5 is Sunday night at Oakland's rambunctious Oracle Arena, where the teams split two overtime games last week.

"We've seen it all year, every team we go up against, we use our strength in numbers," said Iguodala, who made a surprise start. "Not only do we have a good first unit but we've got a second unit that is coming at you with the same type of speed, same type of high-IQ basketball. It's hard to keep up with us.

"We're going to try to keep it going."

The Warriors "wore down the weary" Cavs "and altered the pace and complexion of the NBA Finals," writes CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger. " ... It appears that the real Warriors finally have joined the party.

"Warriors coach Steve Kerr benched struggling center Andrew Bogut in favor of Iguodala, giving Golden State a more versatile defensive look. That, along with the physical toll on LeBron James and the short-handed Cavs, helped the Warriors regain home-court advantage -- not to mention a good portion of their identity as the NBA's best team this season with 67 wins."

LeBron James falls into cameraman on sidelines during second quarter of Game 4 of NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on June 11, 2015; Warriors won, 103-82
LeBron James falls into cameraman on sidelines during second quarter of Game 4 of NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on June 11, 2015; Warriors won, 103-82 Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports

James scored 20 points - 21 under his average in the series - with 12 rebounds and eight assists, but Cleveland's megastar, who played with a cut on his head sustained in the first half, didn't score in the fourth quarter and couldn't do enough for the undermanned Cavaliers.

Timofey Mozgov led Cleveland with 28 points and Matthew Dellavedova, again battling leg cramps after a hospital stay for dehydration, had 10. The Cavs shot just 2 of 18 from the field in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors were in a must-win situation as none of the 32 teams who have fallen behind 3-1 in the finals have come back to win an NBA title. Golden State doesn't have to worry about that, and now it's possible the Warriors will get to play two more games on their home court if the series goes the distance. Game 6 is Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Building off a strong fourth quarter in Game 3 that gave them confidence, the Warriors showed a sense of urgency from the outset and took it to the Cavs. Iguodala, who played so well coming off the bench in the first three games, started and made coach Steve Kerr's decision look brilliant.

Known for his defense, Iguodala made four 3-pointers, kept James in check and Curry, the league MVP, made four as well, including a deep dagger in the fourth.

With Cavs still hanging around, Curry hit a step-back 3 on the left side that stopped the Cavs cold and silenced a roaring crowd of 20,562. After his shot splashed through the net, Curry clenched both fists, pounded his chest and yelled, "C'mon!"

The Warriors followed their leader and now they're headed home brimming with confidence.

Draymond Green added 17 points and Harrison Barnes had 14 for Golden State, which didn't lose three straight games all season racking up 67 wins.

Looking for a spark, Kerr decided to go "small" with his starting lineup, putting Iguodala at forward, moving Green to center and benching struggling big man Bogut. Kerr initially said he wouldn't make any changes, but went with a lineup that worked well late in Game 3, when the Warriors scored 36 points and trimmed a 20-point deficit to one.

Kerr got the result he wanted, but only after the Warriors withstood an early flurry from the Cavs, who scored the game's first seven points.

"We said, 'Hey let's throw a little wrinkle in it and see how it works,'" Iguodala said. "It worked for us tonight."

Golden State's ball movement was better, and shots that didn't drop in the first three games were on the mark.

James was bloodied and later beaten.

When he pulled on his warmup jersey to signal the end of his night, there were still about three minutes remaining.

He had nothing going in the fourth quarter, anyway.

James' numbers were good, but nowhere near the impact he had been making on the series. In fact, he finished with less than half the 41 points he was averaging in what had been one of the best finals performances in history.

But he couldn't keep it up while playing 41 minutes and looking tired. He shot 7 for 22 from the field and rested his hands on his hips multiple times in the fourth quarter, when he took only two shots.

He was trying to catch a quick rest to start the fourth quarter and the game got away from the Cavs while he did. They made the first two baskets while he sat to push the lead back to double digits after Cleveland had been within three points in the final minute of the third, and it turned into a blowout shortly after he returned.

James had been hurt earlier when he was fouled along the baseline by Andrew Bogut. He tumbled out of bounds and he crashed into a photographer's camera, opening a cut in the back of his head. He remained down for a couple of minutes before getting up and holding a towel over the cut. He stayed in the game and made one of the free throws.

James wasn't the only one who looked weary. Matthew Dellavedova, who needed treatment for dehydration after scoring a postseason career-high 20 in Game 3, had just 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting. He looked like he could have used his usual pregame coffee that he gave up Thursday to remain hydrated.

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