Steve Kerr, remember when you told me you wouldn't change the starting lineup before game 4????
Sully, remember when I told you I would kill you last???
What's the difference?
Not starting a single game during the regular season or the playoffs, Iggy rewarded Kerr's lack of veracity by scoring 22 points with 7 rebounds and essentially guarding LeBron the whole game (limiting him to 20 points).
The performance was so important that it led Steve Kerr to say after the game, that Iggy has been the warriors best player in the Finals......not that we believe anything he says at this point.
But in case you're wondering, through 4 games of the Finals:
Iggy for the Finals = 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3 assists
Klay for the Finals = 20 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2 assists
Curry for the Finals = 24 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6 assists
I don't know if I would call Iggy the Warriors best player in the Finals, but there is no doubt he has been very important.
But other players have been important as well….
With a smaller lineup, Iggy, being guarded by a big, can get an open jump shot any time he wants. The same holds true for Harrison Barnes. And if he make s more than he misses, it's to the Warriors benefit. In game 3, Barnes had 0 points. In game 4 he scored 14. That makes a difference.
And Draymond Green. In game 3 he had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Running center for a lot of game 4, he scored 17 points, with 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
And Finally, Shaun Livingston….only 7 points in game 4, but he was a game high +25.
A lot of player are important for the Warriors.
Again, Curry seemed to come alive and light up the Cavs in the 4th quarter.
It truly is amazing - the conditioning that he has and perhaps ability to play rope-a-dope with the Cavs, allowing them to tire out for three quarters by face guarding and trapping him, and then going to work in the 4th.
In game 3, Curry had 17 points in the 4th, including five three pointers.
In game 4, Curry only had 7 points in the 4th - but hit a three at the end of the 3rd with ~18 seconds to go that pushed the Warriors lead back up to six (that was a pretty big shot). So really, 10 points and 3 three pointers that last 12:07 of the game.
That three he hit at the end of the third was a step back from the left wing. And just for good measure, he did it again in the 4th:
Want to see perfection on a step-back jumper?
1) James Jones trailing Curry on the dribble:
2) Curry stops on a dime and dribbles between his legs, left to right:
3) Jones' momentum from trying to catch-up carries past Curry:
4) Jones tries to stop and recover, while Curry is hopping/stepping back behind the three point line:
5) That's a lot of space that was created as Curry goes up into his shot….is this considered uncontested?
Steph, how do you feel about that shot?
So, the Warriors went small and dictated the pace of the game to cater to their more uptempo, perimeter oriented style of play.
Why is that such a big deal? The Cavs have good perimeter players right?
The Cavs can make jump shots.....right?
Offense wins championships
Giving up 103 points to the Warriors in an NBA Finals game isn't that bad.
Scoring just 82 points on 33% shooting, 15% from the three is.
Think about it, the Cavs went 4/27 from three.
Imagine, instead of atrocious, they just shot subpar and hit 10/27 for ~37%.....that's an additional 18 points and a different ball game altogether.
So, you're telling that in order to win the Cavs offense has to be just plan bad - and not historically bad? So you're telling me there's a chance!
It seems the warriors best lineup was:
Livingston at the 1
Curry at the 2
Klay at the 3
Iggy at the 4
Green at the 5
(you could also through David Lee in at the 5, and Harrison Barnes in at the three).
This led to a lot of interesting match-ups - like Mozgov trying to guard Iggy on the perimeter. Again, Iggy can get a wide open jumpsuit ANY time he wants.
But more than creating match-up problem within the half court set, a small Warriros lineup led to a ton of transition opportunities. In particular, with he Cavs sending two bigs to the offensive glass - and having LeBron in the post - when the Cavs missed shot (and they missed a lot of them) it led to numerous fast break points by the warriors. In particular, a lot of dunks by Iggy in transition with Mozgov or or T. Thompson chasing:
It also led to a lot of attacks to the basket by Green.
Mozgov the monster
28 points and 10 rebounds on 9/16 shooting….10/12 from the line.
It's hard to argue that the Cavs were at a disadvantage with Mozgov on the floor, despite the defensive mismatches.
Also, consider that T. Thompson had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
All told, for the battle of the front courts:
Iggy + Barnes + Green = 53 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists
LeBron + Mozgov + T. Thompson = 60 points, 35 rebounds, 9 assists
Doesn't seem like this was the main problem.
Curry + Klay + Livingston = 38 points, 12 assists
Delly + Shump + JR = 19 points, 7 assists
Yep. That'll do it.
Seems like the Cavs need more perimeter production. Remember, Delly had 20 points in game 3? He had 10 in game 4. Perhaps they can look more to Mike Miller, or maybe even give Shawn marion a chance? Marion has championship experience, plays perimeter defense and can make threes. Any dance we'll see him this game? If you're worried about him not playing at all in the Finals (or really the playoff) - well, it didn't seem to affect David Lee.
Either that or…..
Just shoot it
LeBron averaged ~35 shots through the first three games of the Finals, and in turn the Cavs essentially dominated all three games (in terms of pace & style of play) to come away with a 2-1 lead. In game 4, LeBron shot only 22 times and the Warriors dominated the pace and style.
What do you think?
I heard an interesting analysis - that LeBron is posting up and holding the ball on offense a lot just to take a break and catch a breath. And that he'll settle for low percentage shots because it at least slows that game down and is better than missed shots by teammates that can lead to Warriors fast breaks.
Either that or…….
Paging F$%king J.R. Smith.
2/12 from the field, 0/8 for threes in game 4, for 4 points and a game worst -27
For the series, 9 points a game on 4/47 shooting (30% shooting)…..7/28 from three (25%).
Three games to go….to decide the fate of the world…..and J.R. Smith production can be the deciding factor…..that in it of itself is crazy….but hey, that's just the world we are living in right now.
All joking aside - Smith is the one guy besides LeBron that can be a play maker and can create off the dribble either for a pass or shot. He is also the only guy besides LeBron that can get freakishly hot from the filed.
The Cavs NEED the guy that successfully was able to
Truer words were never spoken by Shea Serrano from Grantland:
Seriously, LeBron what do you think about J.R.???
"It doesn't matter… He can miss a hundred shots. If they're great looks, they're drive-and-kicks, you shoot them with confidence. If he's feeling confident about his ability, then I'm confident about it."Go get 'em J.R.!!!!!!!
The world is yours!