Finals Game 3 Recap: Golden State 110, Cleveland 102 (Excuses are like…)

I’m already tired of the excuses. “They added Kevin Durant to a 72 win team…” “The Cavs don’t have Kyrie Irving.” “There’s no ‘margin for error’ against the Warriors.” Enough. The Cavs lost to Warriors Wednesday night, and the reasons people are offering for the loss are designed to protect their jobs, their egos, and their narratives. Terry Pluto offered this gem, “Can’t criticize team for this loss.” Of course you can, Terry.

Cleveland lost despite Steph Curry and Klay Thompson going 7-27. The papers will tell you that this was because Kevin Durant went 15-23, 6-9 from three, and 7-7 from the line, including three triples from over 30 feet out for 43 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. His last bomb? A boulder from a trebuchet that put the Dubs up 106-100. But the reality is the Cavaliers lost another winnable game because of an accumulation of strategic, tactical, and execution errors that doomed them to lose late in the game and allowed Golden State to outperform the Cavs in the Closing minute.

The Cavs actually came out hot in this one, going up 22-12 in the first eight minutes of the first quarter. Love, Smith, James, and Thompson were all aggressive getting to the rim and executing their offense, hustling after loose balls, and harassing the Warriors. The Dubs got themselves in early foul trouble with Curry picking up two. Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson also got an early double tech which led Jeff Van Gundy to comment to the effect that “Green will be able to do whatever he wants now, cause the officials won’t throw him out.” Green proved that thesis later in the quarter when he picked up a foul and shouted a stream of expletives into the air at mid-court.

The Cavs rolled until Steph Curry beat Kevin Love one-on-one to the rim and no one came to help him. After a timeout, Tyronn Lue subbed in Rodney Hood and Jeff Green for Smith and Love, and the Cavalier energy level immediately tanked. The Cavalier offense went cold as LeBron James was no longer feeding his best teammates, but was standing 30 feet from the basket trying to orchestrate a bunch of guys who weren’t used to playing together.

George Hill clanked and coughed up a turnover while Kevin Durant got to the line and got his unstoppable jumper going for nine points in the final 150 seconds. The Warriors scored on six straight possessions, including one where Livingston went coast to coast to score a pull-up over a hapless Rodney Hood. They closed the quarter strong when Durant exposed the NBA’s weakest rule by getting Jeff Green to bite on a pump fake and throwing himself into Green to get two freebies and close the quarter with a 16-7 run to make the Cavalier lead just 29-28.

I knew then, it was a bad omen, as the Cavs could’ve used that time to get LeBron James some rest instead of trotting him out in the middle of a slaughter. I knew when James took the court to start the second that Tyronn Lue would not rest his best player in the first half. Why not ride Kevin Love’s energy? Why not rest your best player?

The second quarter saw the Cavs ratchet up the D and hold the Warriors scoreless for the first three minutes as Rodney Hood scored his very first basket in several weeks. But the Cavs got careless as a Durant flop on a push-off baited the officials into calling a LeBron James offensive foul. The Cavs gave up an easy one to Jordan Bell, continuing their trend of leaving roll men and bigs with semi-competent dive timing to be the beneficiary of Warrior passes for layups and poor communication from the Cavs. This would happen throughout the night as Jordan Bell, JaVale McGee, and Andre Igoudala combined to go 13-18 from the field and 4-6 at the line mostly as a result of these kinds of plays. The Warriors punish bad defense with well-timed cuts and passers who know where their safety valve is.

Bell would also be the beneficiary of more than one over-the-top feed from Draymond Green who threw perfect alley-oops off the short roll and drives when the ball swung to him.

James, Love, and LeBron got hot, and pushed the Cavalier lead out to 13 as Kevin Love scored his 12th point: a tough man’s rebound and putback over Andre Igoudala, and his 15th point, a three-ball from 27′ off an elbow feed from the King.

 

Cleveland did a great job of getting Love going from the inside and then the outside in the first half, but Kevin Durant just kept coming, scoring 11 in the final five minutes of the period including two 30+ foot bombs. Cleveland got in the paint but missed too many bunnies, shot too many fade-aways, and could not buy a whistle. They shot zero free-throws in the first half, but much of it was due to their shot selection.

Hood came in for Love at the 3 minute mark, which was baffling cause he’d just played only a five minute stretch, and had eight points. Hood scored two straight buckets but gave up more than he got, as he got outrebounded for a Bell tip-slam and was a part of the general haphazard defense against their scorching Durant. It didn’t help that KD got some ridiculous calls, like an and-1 against Larry Nance for a “standing there” foul.

Immediately after, James ended the quarter in abysmal fashion by driving with 15 seconds on the shot clock and 25 seconds left in the half, displaying awful clock management. Of course, he had just played two straight quarters, so maybe we can forgive him. James got hit in the air by Durant, no call. KD came back with an almost full shot clock to put up a 34-footer to cut the Cavs lead to just six. In case you’re keeping track, between the bad call, the no-call, James’ poor clock management and Durant’s bomb, that’s a 5-6 point swing to end the first half with the Cavs up 58-52. You can watch the last two plays.

Despite the lead, I wasn’t confident heading to halftime. The Cavs should’ve been up double digits but were awful closing quarters, and James had no rest. I’d have easily traded six points for six minutes of rest for James.

My fears were confirmed in the third quarter  when Golden State erased the Cavalier lead in 107 seconds off the strength of three JaVale McGee bunnies, and a KD triple where everyone lost Kevin in transition. I understand that’s easy to do. Durantula only had 24 points in the first half. I muttered a Draymond-esque stream of expletives from my couch. George Hill posted some anemic offense, missing two buckets (one an uncalled foul) and turning it over, while Dray picked the Cavs apart with pinpoint passing and cutting that exploited J.R. Smith’s utter lack of defensive chops.

Tristan put in perhaps the niftiest finish of his career with a reverse-and-1 over Durant, yet the Cavs kept falling behind. Things looked bad when they got down by five, but somehow, timely threes, James’ drives, and a couple of Rodney Hood buckets kept the Drayfest, and  Duranslaught from getting too awful. KD kept scoring with a man in his face, but the Cavs never made him uncomfortable. They never gave him a hard foul or pushed him off his spot or went through him to get the ball. They never made him feel them. Yes, JR had some steals early, but no one put a bone-rattling hit on his skinny little body: the kind of hit that James takes multiple times per game. The Cavs would would come to regret that as they entered the fourth down 81-83, buying a few minutes of rest for LeBron in the waning minutes.

The Fourth Quarter started with a Rodney Hood buzzer beater. And then a Jordan Bell layup off a nasty (moving) backscreen from Curry. Someone needed to tell Nance it was coming. Curry was as cold as ice though and missed everything. Yet Durant bailed them out time and again with elbow jumpers against tight defense. Somehow James and Rodney Hood kept pace with the Warriors as Kyle Korver struggled with a travel and missing an open look. The Cavs retook the lead, 93-92 on a James floater, but were quickly answered by an Iggy layup after a KD/Curry P/R. Check out the sweet play and the uncalled Durant offensive foul.

And the Cavs answered with two furtive possessions that featured multiple offensive rebounds leading to Warrior fouls and an incredible amount of fight from the Wine  & Gold as James and Love free throws sandwiched an impossible Durant pull-up from the left elbow. The Cavs brief 97-96 lead, lasted till just under the two minute mark, when Rodney Hood had an absolutely abysmal defensive possession, getting caught on the wrong side of Steph Curry, staring at Draymond Green (who the Cavs desperately wanted shooting instead of passing). Curry got an unacceptable layup.

The most pivotal play of the game came next when Kevin Love posted up Igoudala after getting two free ones the last time down, and spun, and looked like he had a shot at the rim until Igoudala reached out with lightning hands and stripped him. I’ve watched the replay four times. I still don’t know how Andre got around to strip so fast. I also know that the horrible spacing caused by Thompson’s presence on the opposite baseline caused Kev to pull up instead of laying it up or passing. The strip led to a Curry three over Hood after an absolute freaking brain fart got Steph open after Rodney bit on a pass fake. Curry drained the trey to put the Dubs up four with 2:38 remaining. UGH.

Somehow, amazingly, the Cavs got it back to one on this two-offensive rebound possession that ended in a James three. But, painfully, LeBron and Love blew their pick and roll coverage on Durant and Igoudala and both stayed with KD with nary a chuck on the roller. Igoudala got to the rim and Thompson went for the block instead of fouling the Andre dunk like any smart team would.  Dubs up 103-100.

On the ensuing possession, possibly the most important possession since 2016, James dribbled the air out of the ball for 20 seconds before spinning into help in the lane against Curry and delivering one of the most ill conceived passes of his career to Tristan Thompson, who predictably bricked a hook shot. Watch it. Why James didn’t use his right hand on the block against Steph is beyond me. Yes, James was exhausted. But that looks like a give-up play to me.

On the back-breaker (above), I screamed, Jeff Van Gundy Screamed, “GET THE BALL OUT OF KD’S HANDS!” To no avail. JR and Rodney played too far off Durant as he kicked Cavs nation in the gut with 32-footer to all but shovel the dirt on the Cleveland season: 106-100, Warriors.

I couldn’t sleep after the game and I went round and round on the live thread. I hate this. I hate it hate it hate it. This is the time that is worse than having lost, that time that the whole world knows you’re going to lose, and they’re ready to bury you. Not just now, but for all time: “LeBron is leaving.” “The Front office is a joke.” “Cleveland is a hole…” And the excuses. Oh my God, the excuses.

“Golden State is unbeatable.” “Kevin Durant joined a 72 win team and broke the NBA.” “LeBron has terrible teammates and needs more help.” “Golden State has so much more talent.” Listen. None of that matters. The Cavs had multiple opportunities to win games one and three, and didn’t do it. They didn’t fail because of intrinsic inequalities or because Kevin Durant is the biggest wuss in the history of sports. They failed because they made more mistakes than the Golden State Warriors from the front office to the coaching to the play on the floor from the end of the 2017 Finals until now. and they did not capitalize on as many opportunities as the Golden State Warriors did during that time period.

From the end of last season we howled that Tyronn Lue needed to find a way to get LeBron ten minutes off a night in the finals. He and the front office have yet to find a way to do that, and seem unable to realize that it is part of the reason the Cavs are having problems finishing games. We facepalmed last summer when the Dan Gilbert elected to dump David Griffin to save a few bucks and try to run the franchise himself with lackey Koby Altman. That summer the Cavs hitched their wagon to aging guards unable to fit the Cavs style of play or match up with the Warriors: Thomas, Calderon, Rose, Wade. We grimaced when the Cavs signed legendary fail artist Jeff Green who cannot shoot threes or make defensive rotations consistently yet still gets trotted out to do so. The Cavs failed to sign one player who could be a plus when playing the Warriors, even in a limited role, when there were players available. The one player they did spend money on, Cedi Osman, was not developed for a role to help stop the Warriors by the coaching staff.

Then the Cavs made one of the worst trades in NBA history for one of the most overrated players in its history who was also hurt. Then they refused to demand adequate compensation when the result of that injury was made clear. Then they traded at mid-season for the worst player in the league by RPM who played over 25 minutes a game (Rodney Hood), a lunk-headed combo guard (Jordan Clarkson), and two contributors (Nance and Hill), but refused to put any of them in situations that consistently accented their talents or gave them much direction. They rather rolled the ball out to LeBron and said, “here you go.”

We howled at the ineffectiveness of Mike Longabardi’s defensive schemes and Tyronn Lue’s nonsensical rotations and unwillingness to develop/play rookies. Yet, they trodded along blissfully, allowed to keep failing. I loathe predictions and I didn’t want to predict that this season would end without a victory due to Tyronn Lue’s coaching failures, for fear of jinxing or somehow giving me a rooting interest in the failure under the guise of being right, and yet, so far it has played out exactly like so many of us have feared: with the Cavs unable to get stops, unable to get James rest, and unable to surround him with four players he can finish a game with.

And now we sit on the precipice with the Cavs having wasted another triple double from the King (33-10-11) and a 20 point, 13 rebound night from Kevin Love who was the second leading scorer and top rebounder, and led all starters at -1 plus/minus yet played fewer minutes (31) than J.R. Smith (33) or Tristan Thompson (34). Cleveland found fools’ gold in Rodney Hood (15 points, -12 on the night, and on the wrong end of too many a highlight), and only found four shots for their leading net rating player in the postseason and the series, Kyle Korver. They refuse to run an offense that suits Korver, and instead insist on running LeBron into the ground possession after possession.

Yet people scream into the wild night that the Warriors are unbeatable. They are not unbeatable. Play LeBron 40 minutes at most. Run pindowns for Kyle Korver. Give Cedi 10 crazy energy minutes. Put every single one of these Warriors on their butts at least once. Tell George Hill to be aggressive. Foul the Dub’s crappy free throw shooting centers instead of giving them dunks. Get the ball out of the hot hands of the hot shooters. Play with a fresh LeBron James down the stretch instead of an exhausted one. Have some freaking pride.

You can play smart and hard and tough and maybe lose, or you can crown their a**es: sit in press conferences complaining about how Kevin Durant gives the Warriors another dimension or wondering what it would be like with Kyrie Irving, or about how they give you no margin for error, or you can get up, get in the film room, talk about how much you screwed up last game, and what you need to fix. You can give all your players (not just LeBron James) an opportunity to play in an offense and defense that puts them in the best position to succeed, or you can keep trotting out LeBron James iso possession after LeBron James iso possession until he has one eye and one leg left. Stop focusing on the summer. Focus on the now. Win one game.

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JB225
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JB225
10 days 42 minutes ago

All I hope is that the Cavs play hard tonight and just don’t give up like the Raptors do.
Got to have pride.

JRL
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JRL
10 days 5 hours ago

What is the maximum contract, year and salary wise, that LeBron will get here as opposed to anywhere else?

ChrisKorvalier
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ChrisKorvalier
10 days 5 hours ago

Any chance we can get this LeBron quote from 2014 trending over the next few weeks?

“I’m not going anywhere ever again. I don’t have the energy for free agency.”

LeBron James: “I’m Not Going Anywhere Ever Again”

Phil Hubbard
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Phil Hubbard
10 days 1 hour ago

Nah. He delivered. I hope he stays, but hHe can do what he wants to now.

Phil Hubbard
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Phil Hubbard
10 days 1 hour ago

*he

Scotch
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Scotch
10 days 12 hours ago
So…maybe unpopular opinion…but this offseason, despite the cap crunch, the cavs actually have some opportunity. 1. We have both Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic to develop into full time rotation players…Cedi is already starter quality on both offense and defense…if you disagree with that please prove it to me. 2. We have George Hill, Jordan Clarkson (yeah i’m not that excited about him either) and Larry Nance Jr under contract for the full season. 2a) that is 5 players that are either young or still in their prime. Hill might be older but he just needs consistency to find his game. That’s not something to laugh at. 3. The cavs also have veterans Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, Jr Smith, and Kyle Korver under contract. 1 of those is a perrenial all star…the other 2 are proved playoff contributors. 4. The cavs don’t have to pay Hood, Green, or Calderon. 5. The cavs are still a contender to get to the finals…so players chasing titles will be interested in signing for the minimum in cleveland if Lebron stays. 6. We have a top 10 draft pick in a likely historically deep draft. Lebron has a lot of options…i’m not sure how… Read more »
bw..
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bw..
10 days 10 hours ago

I don’t disagree, i think there’s a possibility; kinda 60/40 in my mind (60 he leaves). I think with the teams out there that would be preferable for him, none of them really offer a sure thing to get past the warriors. I don’t know the cap situation and how that would effect teams he’d go to, but I’d imagine for most teams it would be disruptive.
But I also can’t shake the fact that he’s still so much at the top of his game though. It has to be eating him up not being able to beat them, knowing he’s so much better than of them.

Mr Green in Library with Jrs Laid Pipe
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Mr Green in Library with Jrs Laid Pipe
10 days 14 hours ago

How long until we have a player take over Head Coach responsibilities? Could LeBron do it? It has to happen eventually. By responsibilities, I mean have title o Head Coach and player.

Jack
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Jack
10 days 6 hours ago

Lebron couldn’t even call a timeout in time in Game 1. A guy who plays the role Lebron does on the court has to put everything into that and doesn’t have the objectivity coaching would require.

running jumper
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running jumper
10 days 15 hours ago

– Cavs have limited assets and flexibility.
– Philly doesn’t have enough players that caters to Embiid, Simmons and Bron. James would also be doiy more post and off-ball work in there.

Houston and LA are the only teams were they could make more than enough moves to give Lebron a team that suits him. He’d be having a harder time gelling with an absolutely new roster in LA tho and both are in the west. That last aspect might be overrated thought imo.

My heart and mind are hopeful he’d finish it here.

Come on Bron. It’s greater legacy here.

believeLAND
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believeLAND
10 days 17 hours ago

If Philly hires David Griffin, could be a major step in recruiting Lebron.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
10 days 17 hours ago

I think his best shot may be with Houston, at least for the short term. I see him signing a 1 year deal with them, in the coming weeks.

daspec90
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daspec90
10 days 15 hours ago

The thing is, relative to expectations, Houston is a risk to Lebron’s reputation if they don’t win. And there is no guarantee that Lebron gels with the Golden One.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
10 days 7 hours ago

LeBron doesn’t want to lose to GS for a third year in a row, and I don’t see how the Cavs can get much better. They could fire Lue and find a more competent HC, but that’s a big IF. They could find lightning in a bottle and hit on their pick, but given their record with draft picks, I see more bust potential. And anyways you wouldn’t know until the season started.

daspec90
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daspec90
10 days 6 hours ago

I’m not enjoying thinking about this by the way, but my main point is that I don’t think it’s a guarantee that if he goes to Houston then they win. Each time Lebron has gone to a new team, it has taken two seasons to get “there.” Houston could be different, but…well, they would have to gel, and that can take time. Probably less “work” for Lebron than say Philly. LA would be more in line with what he has done in the past (a flash Superteam, nothing there and then boom!)

bw..
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bw..
10 days 17 hours ago

I can’t see it making a bit of difference. I doubt he’d go to philly, but if he does, it’s because of the roster. Don’t think coaches or GMs are going to sway him in the least. As much as I despise Boston, I love the rumor that is one of his destinations. That story would be too hilarious to pass up. Nice try Kyrie….

Joeyb
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Joeyb
10 days 17 hours ago

That would be hilarious. I’d be up for facilitating that trade if it means humiliating kyrie

bw..
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bw..
10 days 10 hours ago

It would just need to be agreed that look, this is entirely a mercenary deal. A marriage of convenience. In no way does the team have permission to ever retire his number or ever officially recognize him as a Celtic. :)

daspec90
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daspec90
10 days 17 hours ago

Just to raise the bar a little bit higher, tomorrow’s game is on only one day’s rest.

Charlie E
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Charlie E
10 days 17 hours ago

Terrific piece. I agree with most of this, but I also see that it’s mighty tough to get to the top in the NBA, even with a great player. I mean, before he came back Miami held all the cards, and still they lost in the finals and their team declined.

In the mid-season slump we had some smart players like Channing Frye, RJ, and DWade, but the team seemed too old and slow, so we moved them for younger, more athletic guys like Hood, Clarkson, and Nance. Sadly, Hood & Clarkson are not quick thinking players, especially on D. Even Nance comes in and out of focus.

As much of a saint as LeBron is, he is at least partly responsible for Kyrie wanting to leave and starting the dominoes that led to this point.

This year TT and JR are slipping, but are getting paid like they’re in their prime. That’s a big factor that kept the Cavs from signing really useful players that would have given them a chance to compete. So Klutch Sports gets some of the blame here, too. And somehow Gilbert gets no credit for overpaying Klutch players to try and make LBJ happy.

believeLAND
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believeLAND
10 days 17 hours ago

Gilbert is a moron for paying them, and letting emotions and overcompensation handcuff the franchise. He’s a moron for letting Griffin go and meddling in the front office’s duties.

Gordon
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Gordon
10 days 17 hours ago

If you think Gilbert is a moron for paying JR and TT, then you don’t understand the situation we were in. We made the NBA Finals, were capped out (LeBron, Love and Kyrie were all on max deals), and if you don’t sign JR and TT, you would be forced to replace them with absolute garbage.

Gilbert did the only thing he could, unless you believe letting starting-caliber players on a team that made the NBA Finals walk is a good move when you don’t have the financial flexibility to replace them with anyone remotely close to their production.

Yeah, a few years later JR is the worst starting SG in the NBA, but we had no choice. And we won a Championship.

warriorsfan
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warriorsfan
10 days 18 hours ago

Nate, seems like Lebron is ready to move on and couldn’t wait for the series over.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23728536/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers-basketball-iq-key-toppling-golden-state-warriors

By detailing what type of smart players it takes to win championships, James could very well have been intentionally dropping clues as to what he thinks of his Cavs teammates, as well as what he will be looking for in weighing any new franchise he should decide to join.

Of Wade and Bosh, whom he teamed with in 2010, James revealed, “I knew their minds,” before they wore the same NBA uniform. Of Kyrie Irving, whom he teamed with in 2014, James said his goal was he “wanted to try to build his mind up to fast-track his mind.””

TheOtherJason
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TheOtherJason
10 days 17 hours ago

Thanks for Sharing!

MJ 45
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MJ 45
10 days 19 hours ago

If you genuinely thought the Cavs had a chance in this series or in these games, you should have bet on it. Vegas is offering great odds

In the NBa, the best team almost always wins. Its one of the reasons it’s such a great league to many people. The warriors are vastly better than the cavs when locked in

Go watch the first half of game 1, and compare The warriors defensive effort of game 2 or the second half of game 3. They are just an awesome team, and with some officiating in their favor, this series was never going more than 5 games

Life is about expectations. Expecting the cavs to be very competitive in this series was just going to lead to disappointment and frustration

Gordon
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Gordon
10 days 17 hours ago

Exactly. LeBron James is head and shoulders above any other player in the NBA. Sure, Durant is #2 in the NBA, but he simply, objectively, isn’t on the same level of LeBron.

But when you pair Durant with Curry, a guy who recently won MVP and can shoot the lights out of the ball, that’s scary. And then you team those two MVPs up with Klay Thompson, a guy who literally can score 60 on any given night, and that’s an almost impossible team to beat. And then, finally, you add Draymond Green who, as much as we all hate him (because he’s an ugly, obnoxious clown), is an NBA DPOY and the perfect complement (i.e., offense last) All-Star to team with 3 other All-Stars, and it’s literally the greatest team ever assembled.

Even though LeBron is, in my opinion, the greatest player of all time, the Warriors have more talent than any team ever assembled and we have scrubs playing big minutes. That’s basically impossible to overcome.

believeLAND
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believeLAND
10 days 17 hours ago

Life is not about expectations. It’s about resiliency.

Joeyb
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Joeyb
10 days 17 hours ago

Life is about not being an idiot and making sweet love.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
10 days 7 hours ago

Life is like a box of chocolates. – Forest Gump

JoeyB
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JoeyB
9 days 23 hours ago

“You overconsume a bunch of garbage that looks good at first but only makes you get fat and die.”

running jumper
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running jumper
10 days 21 hours ago

I’m really curious what are the sets and plays that we have when Lebron isn’t on the floor.

running jumper
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running jumper
10 days 21 hours ago

I can’t will myself into rooting for LeBron in a Lakers jersey.

running jumper
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running jumper
10 days 21 hours ago

I just can’t.

Joeyb
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Joeyb
10 days 17 hours ago

You don’t have to root for the lakers to enjoy him going for the scoring record. No title he ever wins will mean more than 2016. He’ll go into the hall as a cav. He’s not an arrogant a hole anymore. He’s a good dude and great player.

JB225
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JB225
10 days 22 hours ago

I which I knew about trades and stuff but the little I know is that it’s going to impossible for the Cavs to get rid of Jr’s and TT’s contracts which IMO are the two contracts that are really hurting the Cavs. If they could get rid of those then maybe LeBron could consider staying.

Jack
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Jack
10 days 5 hours ago

TT is going to be tough, but JR isn’t impossible. He’s only guaranteed 3.8 million after next season, so for capped out teams with a lot of long term contracts, he’s pretty attractive.

Joeyb
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Joeyb
10 days 17 hours ago

Lebron isn’t staying because of the owner. It’s not the contracts.

JB225
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JB225
10 days 4 hours ago

Good point. But to me if somehow the Cavs can pull out some miracle moves and improve the roster dramatically then LeBron would stay.

Jack
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Jack
10 days 1 hour ago

I truly believe Lebron wants to stay and he’s looking for a reason to. To the point, that if there is no clear championship option in outright FA and the Cavs front office presents a competent pitch, he’ll just sign a 1 year deal. I don’t think he wants to pick up his option and force a trade like CP3 because I think never being traded in his career is a bit of a point of pride for him. His wife is an Akron girl, he wants his Lebron Jr. to go to SVSM, he wants to finish his career in Cleveland anyway… It doesn’t make so much practical sense to go to LA, Houston or Philly for a year or 2 if it’s not basically a guaranteed championship.

JB225
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JB225
10 days 56 minutes ago

I agree, if it’s not a “championship now” opportunity for him he is not going anywhere.

JoeyB
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JoeyB
10 days 22 hours ago
I want to throw in one more thing and hope it doesn’t make admin ban me: Lebron is likely leaving, but it would be a mistake for us to think he’s leaving because we lost this series. That interview he gave to Rachael Nichols before this series started? He was softening the landing. He and Gilbert have about as strained a relationship as can be. Gilbert isn’t leaving, so Lebron is going to. I don’t think sweeping the Warriors would make a difference. If anything, it’d probably be easier to leave. After this summer’s absolute front office debacle, the clock started ticking. Gilbert has been afraid of Lebron embarassing him since he came back, and so he went out and tried to protect himself. Instead, he just ran off the greatest player ever, a guy who wanted to stay here. I know a lot of folks are holding out hope, and part of me does too, even though I know he’s gone. He did what he said he’d do in the most incredible fashion ever. This team is not poised to seriously contend as Lebron’s prime comes to a close. He has no reason to believe in this Front Office.… Read more »
Mike Podracky
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Mike Podracky
10 days 22 hours ago

+1. Sadly I agree with you. The Cavs won an epic chip, but last July when Griff was not renewed through this February’s trade deadline was a
comedy of errors

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
10 days 20 hours ago

Griff, the great GM who buried us with TT and JR contracts? That Griff? I liked Griff but I don’t know that he was objectively a great GM

Joeyb
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Joeyb
10 days 17 hours ago

Griffin made mistakes without question. He was okay. But he should have been renewed. It might not have mattered in this finals, but it sure as hell set off a disastrous offseason. Gilbert took an organization that had just started to become stable and blew it up out of pure hubris. There is no way to sugarcoat it. He actively chased lebron away. Lebron was ready to retire here. If he doesn’t it is completely at the feet of Gilbert.

Gordon
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Gordon
10 days 17 hours ago

What other option did Griff have other than signing TT and JR? Do you forget that we had zero options to replace those guys with? It’s called leverage. They had all of it. If you don’t sign those guys, you replace them with garbage.

MikeO
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MikeO
10 days 9 hours ago

This times 1,000. Griffin can be criticized, but not for those two signings.

JoeyB
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JoeyB
10 days 20 hours ago

Comedies are funny. This was a tragedy of errors.

Jack
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Jack
10 days 22 hours ago
Look, I’m still watching and rooting, but also already in trade machine mode because no matter what, they can’t run this team back next year. So if Lebron stays, what do yo guys think of the pick, JR and Korver for Otto Porter. Why Wiz do it: They need to shake things up (because according to themselves, they hate each other), but Wall’s contract is not moveable and Beal is a little bit too good to trade. Meanwhile Porter’s contract is a bit bloated, and if they take the trade, they get a nice young piece from a loaded draft, and then JR and Korver are only guaranteed around 7.2 mil in 2019-2020, so they’ll be 15 mil beneath the cap, and if they figure out something to do with Mahimi’s contract, they can clear anywhere between 20 mil and max space. Why Cavs do it: Porter is the perfect complementary player (who Cavs should have taken in the draft anyway) — athletic, shoots a high percentage from everywhere, including 3, good finisher, very solid defender. Since he played with Wall, he’s proven he can excel in the type of show Lebron runs, but he was also part of the… Read more »
Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 19 hours ago

Otto is a playoff ghost.

Jack
Guest
Jack
10 days 6 hours ago

That’s true. But he was way more efficient this year, and he’s actually only going into his 5th year. I think he has some untapped potential for significant improvement in the right situation. And I just look at what the Pacers did by going after a guy whose value had been depressed by circumstance and think that might be a better route for the Cavs than trying in vein to get a superstar.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 22 hours ago

I don’t see how it makes either team better in any significant way. I mean, Porter is maybe an improvement, but not enough of one to matter. They won’t trade the pick for that anyway. I mean, if Lebron wanted it, sure, but that’s not going to be a reason to stay.

Their problems aren’t fixable with one trade like that. They need wholesale changes in a lot of places, not just players. Otto Porter isn’t getting us over the hump.

Jack
Guest
Jack
10 days 21 hours ago
I think we have to accept that Paul George or Kawhi, … They’re not coming to Cleveland, math doesn’t add up for George and Kawhi is worth way more than what the Cavs can offer. If Lebron stays, it’s because he doesn’t see a clearly better option and just kind of wants to stay in Cleveland. The best way for the Cavs to get closer to the Warriors level is internal improvement — coaching, system, player development, addition by subtraction — and filling in the most glaring gaps — defense and athleticism. I think Otto Porter has some Oladipo potential in him in that he’s in a situation where he’s underutilized and he’s highly skilled and versatile, albeit not the off the bounce talent that Oladipo is. I’m not saying he’s the answer, but the Cavs have got to consider who they’ll be drafting and that he’ll probably look something like Otto Porter down the line anyway, if they’re lucky, but not for 4-5 years, so they should be targeting guys like him who are already pretty good, but could be even better in a different situation. Keeping the pick is not an option unless they’re blowing the whole thing… Read more »
JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 20 hours ago

Rookies can be big contributors. The problem is that you need to be able to (1) identify the talent and (2) coach the talent. So far this organization has guys in charge who haven’t proven able to do either.

Jack
Guest
Jack
10 days 9 hours ago
I totally agree that rookies can be contributors, and personally, I like Trae Young’s game a lot and think he has star potential that nobody else outside the top 5 has, and there’s an argument to be made for having a rookie like one of the Bridges or Sexton who turns into a borderline all-star on a rookie scale contract when Kevin Love’s deal is up and Cavs could clear cap room for an heir to Lebron, but the draft is such a crapshoot, it’s a risk, and you can’t bank on them being ready in their 1st or even 2nd year in the league to contribute to a championship contender at the level he’d be asked on the Cavs, mainly because of his defense and the time it takes to adjust to playing in the NBA if you aren’t physically ready. Steph wasn’t Steph in year 1, and Mitchell and Tatum are both physically gifted guys for their age and play in structured systems, and Ben Simmons is a a physical freak. I just think if Lebron stays, the Cavs best bet in the short term is to use the 2011 Mavericks template and surround him with guys who… Read more »
JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 23 hours ago
Nate, I appreciate what you are saying, but I think you’re getting riled up about people saying the same things you are. We can’t beat the warriors as we are currently constructed. The warriors aren’t unbeatable, they are just really really really good, because they were able to take advantage of a lucky salary cap situation no one foresaw and a great player who has no testicles. So there is little room for error. Last year, when we lost the finals, the first thing I said was run it back. I watched those games and the Warriors didn’t look unbeatable. They didn’t look unbeatable against the Rockets until Paul went down. But he did go down, which was sadly predictable and Harden turned into dust, which was also predictable. The Cavs made a horrible trade, Gilbert acted stupid, and Lue is a poor coach. Also predictable things. So when the season started, the Warriors were rightly the favorites. Don’t confuse what is possible with what is probable. The Warriors are beatable, but that doesn’t mean it is likely. This Cavs team, the one we’ve watched all year and in these playoffs, was rightly a severe underdog. Vegas isn’t swayed by… Read more »
Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 19 hours ago

Dude. They could easily be up 2-1 right now if things were slightly different, and were jobbed out of a game 1 win.

Joeyb
Guest
Joeyb
10 days 16 hours ago

But things aren’t slightly different. This is peak lebron. He’s playing better basketball than anyone in history. If things were slightly different in the other direction we lose each game by 30.

Lebron can’t beat them by himself. Love has played well. the game plan has been solid. Tt and hill have been about as good as you can expect. Sure, osman might help. But you think kerr wouldn’t adjust?

Lue is a bad real time coach. Jr is mentally challenged. But the warriors haven’t played their best either. They could easily hit that gear and score 140. Honestly, they look bored. If we’d have won game one they were just as likely to wake up and go crazy as we were to keep the pedal down. Lebron himself admits it. He knows they are more talented and smarter.

They’re better. I hate them. I hate everything about that insufferable team. But they are better than we are at basketball

ChrisKorvalier
Guest
ChrisKorvalier
10 days 6 hours ago

I tend to agree that the Warriors have mostly been in chill mode for the series up to this point. When they want to, they outscore the Rockets by 40 in a half.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 23 hours ago

Reality is just that this Cavs team, managed and coached and owned in a way we can’t do anything about, was almost certainly not going to win this series. We hoped, we cheered, we saw the ways it was possible. But it was never probable. Now they are down 3-0. Can they win 4 straight? Sure. It’s possible. But if you had to bet the lives of your kids on it, every single person on this blog – every single fan of this team – Hell, every single player on this team, would bet that the Warriors prevail. That isn’t weakness or excuse making or quit. It’s just facing reality and making the smart bet. The reasons it’s a smart bet are the things you are calling excuses.

Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 22 hours ago

Why do they they make these 7 games then? We should just play best of 7 or 3-0 skunk rule. Cavs win tomorrow, and it’s 3-1.all I’m saying.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 22 hours ago

I’m all for it. I’d love it. I’d eat a literal crow.

Ben Werth
Editor
11 days 3 minutes ago

Amen my man. What a waste.

JB225
Guest
JB225
11 days 49 minutes ago

I totally agree with this quote from Charles Barkley
“I’ve never seen a team that dumb in my life. The play that Dominique (Wilkins) and Dennis Scott. We talked about before the game, I bet … how many you think? 10, 12, 15 layups on a simple slip screen. For the same play to work that many times, that’s just stupidity. You have to blame the players to a certain degree, and the coaches. To run a simple play like that and get a layup every single time, that’s just dumb and stupid, plain and simple.”

Charlie E
Guest
Charlie E
10 days 17 hours ago

So much this. The game was lost was from the combination of KD going off and all those easy baskets out of the pick and roll to players who otherwise can’t score.

JB225
Guest
JB225
11 days 46 minutes ago

From day one this season the Cavs hasn’t been able to stop any opponents slip screens.
It has been ridiculous watching the Warriors score at will running those slip screens action and apparently the Cavs coaching staff have never found a way to teach the Cavs players how to stop them.
It’s just unbelievable.

Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 23 hours ago

Amen.

newnomad
Guest
newnomad
11 days 1 hour ago

are the dubs beatable—yes —but do you really expect ty to make ‘ all the changes you mentioned ‘ by Friday—–he hasn’t all season so why expect them with 1 day off—–furthermore –yes a win / and more basketball would be nice—-but I think the players ” have already cashed in ‘ —-don’t think they want to ‘prolong the series / agony ” get on a plane to SAN FRAN only to meet up with the obvious ——sorry about being so pessimistic but that is the way I see it unfolding

Scotch
Guest
Scotch
11 days 1 hour ago

If I’m honest I expect nothing good from Tye Lue. But I definitely do NOT think guys like George Hill and Kyle Korver are ready to get swept in the NBA finals. I expect we will win game 4 at least. And maybe for tt to get dray another tech. Then he is 1 away from suspension for game 6. Then we win in 7. Sorry for being so optimistic lol

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
11 days 1 hour ago

The playoffs, I’m appreciating, are all about matchups. In earlier rounds, George Hill and Kyle Korver really punished other teams, but against the Warriors, George has had a tough hill to climb in guarding Durant in the post, and Kyle Korver has been completely absent on the offensive end.

JMay
Member
11 days 1 hour ago

I’ve seen a lot of comments about Korver having a hard time getting open against the Dubs. I counter that with the coaching staff not putting him in a position to succeed. I think I’ve seen about four plays in the first three games that were designed to get Korver an open look. Not to mention the limited time with Love after that pairing straight wrecked the Raptors…

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
11 days 1 hour ago

I don’t disagree with your points. I wonder why that is.

Scotch
Guest
Scotch
11 days 1 hour ago

Alright Mr. admin, if that is your real name…this was a seriously accurate write up. The overall theme? This warriors team isnt just beatable, they are actually fairly flawed. Gone are the days of Kerr being able to play basically 10 guys in the finals. Gone are the days of their stars being rested and ready for the 4th quarter. Gone are the days of us needing crazy herculean efforts from role players like dellavedova and Jr Smith.

We should be down 2-1 if the NBA had any integrity. We should be up 2-1 if Tye Lue played Korver with Kevin love instead of with Jeff Green or Rodney Hood.

This was and still is a winnable series. The disparity between these two teams isnt that big, and the disparity between Lebron and anyone else in the NBA is a giant chasm of uncrossable with. He had his 2nd pretty bad game in a row. Triple double. Lue wore him out

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 23 hours ago
I don’t think this is a winnable series anymore. It was at the beginning, but the probabilities are pretty bad. Lebron has to play out of his mind on one day rest, and he’s clearly tired mentally and physically. JR Smith has to grow a brain. Love has to play 4 more good games after basically doing it only 2 or 3 times the entire playoffs. And Curry, Thompson, and Durant all have to have bad games. I mean, even at our best, we were in a one possession game. You really think it’s at all likely that none of those three guys hits a late go ahead three for four straight games – two of which are in Oracle? That for four straight games against our middling defense, none of them will catch fire and kill us? That for four straight games we’ll have the firepower to keep up? This was always going to be a series where we had to pounce on their shortcomings. Game one, whether it was taken from us or not, was one of those chances. Last night was another. It’s just incredibly unrealistic that this team, with this coach, with this mindset, with this… Read more »
JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 23 hours ago

It’s Nate.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
11 days 1 hour ago

While I applaud your fighting spirit (and join you in believing that it is not over), the fact is that pretty much every player on the Cavs’ team does need to play up to his potential every game. I think that they probably *do* need a couple of non-Lebrons to have career games (hey, if not in the Finals, when?). Lue “wore him out”? Have you seen what happens to this team when Lebron goes to the bench, like, all season long? I don’t think that you can blame Lue for Lebron’s time on the court.

ChrisKorvalier
Guest
ChrisKorvalier
10 days 6 hours ago

Actually, for the 2017-2018 season, the Cavs’ team plus/minus was +0.9. LeBron’s was +0.0. So the Cavs played better with him on the bench this year. Obviously, an extremely small sample size given his minutes per game, but it’s inaccurate to say the team imploded whenever he went to the bench.

Scotch
Guest
Scotch
11 days 1 hour ago

One of the main reasons we beat Indiana was because lebron was sitting to start the 4th in game 7 and Indiana didnt have one guy to key on playing defense. In game 3 specifically, the cavs had a lead for the whole first half. Gotta find lebron rest there.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
11 days 2 hours ago

73-win team….

It’s not an excuse, but just a fact that there’s a talent disparity between these two teams. There’s a reason why the Warriors are heavily favored. They should win and they are winning. I’m not protecting my ego, job, hairline, carburetor, age, or whatever else you can throw in there by stating this.

JB225
Guest
JB225
11 days 57 minutes ago

I agree with you Arch. In basketball it has always been this way. The team with the most talented players (or should I said scorers) the Warriors have 3 players that will average between 75-80 in any given series and they also play solid defense and also share the ball really well.
At the other hand the Cavs have just two players that will give the Cavs around 45-50 points per night and the Cavs are also not a good defensive team.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous
11 days 1 hour ago

But, Cavs are not even 2nd best team, so kind of have no basis to make the argument.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
11 days 1 hour ago

I don’t get your point.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
11 days 2 hours ago

I’m disappointed that the loss column is full and the win column is empty, but I’m not embarrassed by the effort of our team or the coaching staff. Particularly in Game 3, I think that they played about as well as they could, near their ceiling. There were some lapses on defense, and JR shot only 5/14, but that was a good effort overall.

Pete
Guest
Pete
11 days 2 hours ago
Everything you’ve said is true. It is very frustrating to watch. We see GS playing a rookie in Bell while Ty Lue refuses to play Cedi or Zizic when they’ve shown real flashes and might be something worth while if they got any time. The offense is non existent. Give the ball to LeBron and let him make something happen is okay against the dregs of the league, but having a real system that the role players can buy into will make everything better. Having a system in place would help rest LeBron. He can go out for 10+ minutes a night, and the other guys will actually run something. It is not a given that Bron is leaving this summer. Everyone thinks he’s going to Philly, Houston or LA. Philly and Houston will have to gut their rosters to get him a max slot, which he’s always said he wants. That is without considering how he’d fit in with Harden or Simmons. If he goes to LA it would be with Paul George and nothing else. We have talent on this team. We have the best player in the world. If we had a real system, and spend time… Read more »
TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
11 days 2 hours ago

ok so your excuse is bad coaching/execution. also true.

i agree the warriors are beatable, but our bad coaching and execution combined with lack of irving combined with the ultimate puss joining gsw = loss, loss, loss.

all the excuses are equally valid and invalid.

of the changes i would most like to see, a different coach with different schemes and different rotations would be #1. otherwise lebron is still suffiicient talent to contend, i dont think we desparately need another player

Nate Smith
Admin
11 days 2 hours ago

Play the team in front of you with the players you have.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 23 hours ago

So if a junior high girls squad was playing Lebron James and losing, you tell them to just play better? That there was some coaching problem or scheme issue?

I get that there are different things that could be done. Coaching, personel – but isn’t that part of what makes up this team? Our TEAM isn’t as good as their TEAM. It hasn’t been at any point all year. They are playing the team in front of them. They are all doing their very best. They are losing every game, because they aren’t as good. The reasons they aren’t as good isn’t an excuse. It’s a reason. It may not matter to you, but just yelling at Ty Lue to play the team in front him…what do you think he’s doing? Playing Philly?

They ARE playing the team in front of them with the players they have. Their players aren’t as good as Golden State’s players. I don’t know why this fact is so hard to accept.

Tim
Guest
Tim
11 days 2 hours ago

At some level, as we aren’t players on the team, rational analysis of the talent, strengths and weakness of the two teams doesn’t mean excuses. I think what you are upset about and fairly is your rational analysis shows the Warriors to be beatable by the Cavs best effort with ideal coaching and they are putting nowhere near that.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
11 days 2 hours ago

Highlighting all the failures in lieu of making excuses just makes me marvel even more at 2016. How did they do it?!

JMay
Member
11 days 3 hours ago

Hear, hear, Nate.

JRL
Guest
JRL
11 days 3 hours ago

This was a winnable game but due to our couching/training incompetence, these NBA players – aren’t these supposed to be the best in the world – forgot how to defend a simple PnR and left a wide opened lane to the basket.

That, along with idiotic switches which left Durant one on one against anyone but LeBron or Green, which at that point was an automatic score, made it even harder for the Cavs to win.

The moment I felt relieved that McGee was taken out in favor of Iggy (3rd quarter?) I knew we had no business being out there. It should had been the other way around. I should had wanted McGee to stay in order to attack that mismatch… But it wasn’t so. The Cavs made McGee a lot of money these past two games.

The best possible

JRL
Guest
JRL
11 days 3 hours ago

The best possible outcome is Lue getting fired Friday night. It will be insane if he, along with 90% of his coaching staff, don’t get the boot.

Nate Smith
Admin
11 days 3 hours ago

The best possible outcome is winning and watching more basketball

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
10 days 22 hours ago

On this we agree.

kdogg
Guest
kdogg
11 days 3 hours ago

Too many mental lapses on defense. No changes to defensive schemes. Do you notice how hard Ws avoid Curry getting iso’d on Lebron? They switch Klay onto Hill. Lebron’s defender fights through screens. If someone is posting on Curry, then they’re able to switch Curry off post man when ball is lobbed.

Just the defensive effort and defensive IQ is not there. It’s not even that Cavs switch too easy – it’s that no one mixes defenses up. Throw a hard double or go way under screen once in a while.

I don’t mind backcut layups bc the threat of shooters causes that, but I can’t stand just letting Hill get stuck on KD every play. It’s a shame the Cavs don’t have a play to post Love on Curry every play.

Frickin’ coaching..

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