June 08, 2015

James Scores Triple-Double as Cavs Even NBA Finals at 1: LeBron James scored a triple-double -- 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists -- in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 95-93 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors Sunday night that evens the NBA Finals at 1-1. As good as James was, Warriors star Stephen Curry was the opposite, shooting 5 of 23 (2 of 15 from 3-point range) with six turnovers. The Cavs shot 32.2 percent, the lowest of a winning playoff team in at least 30 years. "If you expect us to play sexy cute basketball, that's not us right now," James said. "Everything is tough and it has to be that for rest of series."

posted by rcade to basketball at 02:16 PM - 6 comments

I picked the Warriors in 5, but I'm still cheering for King James.

He's doing everything he can (and what he's doing isn't pretty) to carry his team in this series. If he has to win by bulk shooting, then go ahead.

posted by grum@work at 02:53 PM on June 08

It is time for Golden State to use "The Formula". This is the way the Boston Celtics of old (Russell, Cousy, Sharman days) would defeat teams that had the best player on the floor. The idea was that this "best player" was going to get his points. You could not stop him, so do not waste a lot of extra effort. Instead, make sure that no one else is able to go off for points, rebounds, or any other offensive statistic well above his normal output. At the same time, you exert enough offensive pressure on the "best player" to make him play full-time defense, thus tiring him somewhat. Note that this formula must be applied over a series; it does not work for just one game. In the case at hand, LeBron James, having to play minutes in the 30s game after game, will, if the formula is properly applied, be worn down by game 7 of the finals.

What did in Golden State last night was their inability to hit much from the 3-point arc and the ability of the Cleveland defense to pack it in down low to prevent the Warriors from attacking the rim. Give full marks to Dellevadova for his defensive work. It was not so much any ability to stop or influence shots. Rather, he was able to exert the defensive pressure needed to disrupt Golden State's offensive timing.

posted by Howard_T at 03:53 PM on June 08

LeBron has averaged 42.4 minutes per game in his post-season career. Maybe he will wear down (especially after playing 46 and 50 minutes during the first two games) but he just seems to take it to another level in the playoffs.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:51 PM on June 08

Isn't that exactly what they're doing Howard? I don't get how The Formula is a change from their current strategy.

The Cavs needed LeBron to take 35 shots and play 50 minutes. He shot 11/35. They pushed him on both sides of the court and the rest of the team shot 18/55 with nobody else going off. They held them to 87 points at the end of regulation.

Golden State wins that game (and nearly all others where they hold the other team to 87 points) if Steph Curry shoots within three standard deviations of his mean and both teams play that way.

posted by dfleming at 05:13 PM on June 08

Isn't that exactly what they're doing Howard?

It is, but it will take time for it to work. It is now a 5-game series, LeBron is single-handedly carrying his team, and has succeeded, at least for game 2. As you correctly point out, Golden State suffered from uncommonly bad shooting in game 2, and I'm not sure Cleveland's defense had all that much to do with it. Curry got the touches he needed, but Dellavedova (interesting that spell check says that "Dellavedova" should be "levelheaded") was sufficiently disruptive to put Golden state's offense off of its usual efficiency.

posted by Howard_T at 04:53 PM on June 09

And the scriptures hath fortold that communing with David Blatt shall be pleasing to the king.

posted by bender at 05:16 PM on June 09

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