1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?
Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. Read the rest of this entry »
The Cavs’ margin for error is razor thin. Are they exhausted or just getting beat? Steve Kerr’s new strategy. Why won’t David Blatt go deeper into his bench? Small Ball the new normal? More Kendrick Perkins talk then you could possibly fathom at this point in the season. Does LeBron deserve the MVP?
What are your thoughts? I’m admittedly a bit salty about the series right now but the Cavs should be commended for making this so entertaining. One thing I’ve found interesting is the amount of hate Cavs fans suddenly have for Steph Curry. I’ll admit my gut instinct is to dislike the guy but the longer I think about him and the idea of Steph Curry I calm down and almost force myself to get over my emotions. But I have a few friends on facebook that are fantasizing about doing some violent things to that mouthguard. How are you feeling about the baby-faced bobblehead right now?
In a fantastically contested game, the Cavs hung with the Warriors for 43 minutes, until two straight Andre Iguodala threes gave the Warriors a seven-point lead. Steph Curry then destroyed the Cavs’ chances with a dancing, playground style, three-pointer and then a layup to put the Dubs up ten. LeBron tried valiantly to bring the Cavs back with a 27-footer, followed by a successful Hack-guodala strategy, but Matthew Dellavedova missed a three that would have cut it to five at 1:39. Then, Steph Curry slung an ice dagger at the net from 29 feet, and routed the armies of the North Coast.
The other lousy bookend to this game, the first five minutes, looked like a plate full of baby puke as the Cavs had only a Delly junkball deuce and five turnovers on their tray. But Cleveland went small, relegating Timofey Mozgov to the bench, and ran with the Dubs till late in the fourth to the tune of 20 lead changes and 10 ties. Cleveland just turned the ball over five more times the rest of the game, but the 11 offensive rebounds surrendered to Golden State were the difference as much as Curry’s shooting.
LeBron James notched another triple double with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to get the Cavaliers a win in Oakland. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 37 points on 7-13 shooting from three and the Warriors pulled away from the Cavaliers late on their way to a 104-91 win and a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series.
The Cavs followed the Warriors lead by going small for much of the game. One game after scoring a career high 28 points, Timofey Mozgov played just over nine minutes of Game 5, posting goose eggs on all positive stats. James attacked the basket relentlessly and was much more efficient than in Game 4 where he went 7-22 for 20 points. He finished his second triple double of this Finals series going 15-35 from the field and 7-9 from the line. James even dropped in three triples (in eight attempts).
J.R. Smith had a strong first half, but disappeared in the second finishing with 14 points on 5-15 from the field. Tristan Thompson finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but posted a team-worst +/- of -22 as the Cavs couldn’t hit their big shots late.
Golden State did. Curry was helped by 14 points from Andre Iguodala and a surprising 13 points off the bench by reserve guard Leandro Barbosa.
The Cavs will look to stave off elimination in Game 6 Tuesday night back in Cleveland.
Summoning good vibes and karma for the Cavs tonight, as we’re all trying to get up for this game. Cleveland heads to Oracle arena tonight with a welcome extra day’s rest. Cavs are 15-0 this season on two days rest, and LeBron has won his last five series that were tied at 2-2. So with that notion, I’ve got a “Good Feeling.” I’m queuing the first song on my energy jam mix. Go Cavs… GO CAVS!
It’s almost time for the Cavs first Game 5 of the NBA Finals in franchise history!
But don’t expect LeBron James, David Blatt and the rest of Team Intravenous Fluids to be content resting at this cozy mountain base camp when there’s still the rest of the mountain to climb. Here’s some things to look for going into this critical game against the Warriors safely back in their Golden State:
1.) Much of the narrative following the Warriors 103-82 Game 4 victory over the Cavaliers was that the Warriors had finally “figured out” the Cavs defense. How much that lopsided win had to do with the Warriors cracking the schemes that had been frustrating them through the first three games and how much it was the Cavs exhaustion that prevented the Cleveland players from being as effective against Golden State remains to be seen. The Warriors made some adjustments — particularly the insertion of Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup, relegating Andrew Bogut to just a foul-plagued cameo — that gave the Cavs problems, and the team was still only down by one point with under a minute to go in the third… despite their collective legs joining Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in street clothes. Eventually, the Warriors hit some shots, while the Cavs couldn’t get anything outside the paint to drop — and that’s a narrative that could describe a million different basketball losses more than it sounds like one about a clearly superior team jumpstarting a Midas touch that had mysteriously gone missing for the previous two games. We’ll see.
The Cavs’ game plan throughout this series has been to shut down the Splash Bros., and let the Warrior’s role players beat them. Well, they got exactly what they asked for tonight. Steve Kerr switched up his starting lineup for this pivotal game four, and it worked out perfectly. He put Andrew Bogut on the bench and started Andre Iguodala at the four. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 12-26 for just 31 points. However, Iggy, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green combined to go 18-35 for 52 points. They were 10-21 from beyond the arc.
Steve Kerr also started to double-team LeBron James when he was in the post, and trapped him on pick and rolls. LeBron made the correct passes tonight, but it just didn’t matter. The Cavs went 4-27 from 3-point land. Tonight wasn’t one to remember, but let’s remember it anyways.
I want to get very specific. Everyone watching the Cavs sort of shutdown the Warriors can recognize what’s going on: the Cavs are protecting the ball, limiting 3-point makes, slowing the game’s pace, making role players perform, and marching the NBA back to a time where games had less than 200 combined points and more than 200 combined hand-checks. Let’s check out some numbers from these playoffs to get a better appreciation for the Cavs 2-1 series lead. Read the rest of this entry »
Since Robert’s on vacation this week, I’m filling in to author this week’s Point Four-ward: four things I’m thinking about as the Cleveland Cavaliers are just a couple wins from an NBA championship.
1) Matthew Dellavedova belongs to all of us now. “On Wednesday, Dellavedova had the best-selling NBA player jersey on Fanatics, the nation’s largest licensed online sports retailer,” ESPN.com reported. Dellymania has reached fever pitch.
The first Finals game at The Q in eight years was a star studded affair. Rascal Flatts sang the national anthem, and Ohio sports legends Urban Meyer, Jim Brown, Mark Price, Jim Thome, and Larry Nance were in attendance. The boys in wine and gold didn’t disappoint as they led from the opening tip until the final buzzer sounded.
Nate Smith is an Associate Editor. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to NE Ohio in 2000. He adopted the Cavs in 2003 and graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a BA in English. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or @oldseaminer on Twitter.
Tom Pestak is an Associate Editor. He's from the west side of Cleveland and lives and (mostly) dies by the success and (mostly) failures of his beloved teams. You can watch his fanaticism during Cavs games @tompestak.
Robert Attenweiler is a Staff Writer. Originally from OH, he's long made his home in NYC where he writes plays and screenplays (www.disgracedproductions.com) some of which end up being about Ohio, basketball or both. He has also written for The Classical and the blog Raising the Cadavalier. You can contact him at email@example.com or @cadavalier.
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