Dubs Rediscover Offensive Magic En Route to Victory Over Weary Cavs
Uh-oh, Cleveland, looks like Golden State has woken up.
Game 4 was a statement from the Dubs. With their offense on auto-pilot and a defense that finally bugged LeBron & Co just enough, the Warriors cruised their way to a comfy victory.
The Cavaliers certainly looked fatigued. LeBron was huffing and puffing most of the game, and his shooting efficiency paid the price. What people might not realize is the last two games for the Cavaliers have been exhausting. Fatigue might be the Cavaliers biggest factor going forward.
Seriously, two players on that squad -- LeBron and Matthew Dellavedova -- have carried the majority of the load on defense as well as making their mark on offense. It really is no shock that it's catching up to those dudes. They need other players to show. Will the other Cleveland Cavaliers please stand up?
LeBron is looking around, wondering where JR Smith and Iman Shumpert went and realizing he really does have to do it all. He’ll have to settle for a James Jones block instead:
Golden State made one key adjustment going into Game 4 that threw the Cavs for a loop. Andrew Bogut has been a mainstay in the starting lineup for the Dubs, but Steve Kerr decided to do some unconventional thinking and start Andre Iguodala instead. What did this wacky and, in some sense, crazy idea do?
Let’s break it down:
- In Game 3, Andrew Bogut was a zombie out there and seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but the basketball court. Plus, Bogut isn’t exactly the fastest dude on the court and the Warriors had to play at his pace.
- With Bogut out, the pace shot up the charts. With Draymond Green playing center, every player in the starting lineup got up-and-down the court while also rebounding aggressively. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the Warriors are ten times better playing at a faster tempo; with Cleveland looking like they need crutches to walk now, Golden State ran circles around them.
- The David Lee resurgence: it’s really happening. With Bogut effectively out of the lineup for Game 4, Lee could fill in some of Bogut’s minutes. Dude looks good and adds another wrinkle to an already difficult and imposing Dubs offense. Think about it: he's the only big the Warriors have that actually has post moves. Bogut can hardly move, and Festus Ezeli only dunks. Lee's skilled in the blocks, and it not only gives the Warriors someone to throw the ball to but someone who can get them out of sticky situations. Who woulda thunk it?
Changing the lineup this quickly and drastically is nothing new. Kerr and his assistant coaches are like mad scientists trying to figure out how to make this team go. In the Memphis series, he decided to put Bogut on Tony Allen, and it completely turned the series around. Guess what? That series was also 2-1 when that switch was made. Sensing a pattern?
It also helps that Iguodala found his offense.
Is this 2008 all over again?
Did I mention Cleveland looks like they’re on crutches already? Gazing at the sidelines, it looks like a mini-hospital, with ice packs and cold rags in abundance. Dellavedova had to ask out of the game because he started cramping and looked gassed just a minute into the third quarter.
To scare pretty much everyone in Ohio, LeBron went down on a hard foul and cut his head on a camera. If LeBron sustained a more serious injury, the very fabric of Ohio would be crushed.
If hockey players were watching, they'd be shaking their heads. Those dudes pick up teeth, and take them to the bench without a stoppage in play.
Anyway, what does this all mean?
- Cleveland has ridden the Dellavedova/Lebron train for as long as they can. Smith and Shumpert need to step up to fill the scoring void because Delly and James are falling apart before our eyes.
- Why haven’t the Cavaliers dusted off Shawn Marion, or even played Mike Miller for longer stretches? Miller plays three minutes in one game, and Marion sees none. At the very least, David Blatt should utilize those players to spread the minutes around and prevent his players from literally dying on the court. Even the players think it’s a good idea.
- It is quite possible that the Cavs don’t win another game in this series unless coffee is infused into Dellavedova’s body or the basketball gods bless Cleveland with perfect health.
Game 4 certainly felt like the page was turning, and while the series may be just tied at two games apiece, it felt like the Warriors said enough was enough and let everyone know.
Klay feels it. Dude knows they have the momentum.
Cleveland, look around. You have your work cut out for you. Game 5 is incoming.