June 12, 2015

Golden State Exposes Cleveland in Game 4 Rout: The Golden State Warriors played like a heavy favorite for the first time in the NBA Finals, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-82 in game 4 Thursday. Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala each scored 22 for the visitors to even the series at 2. But Daniel McGraw of The Guardian called the Warriors' performance "hardly stellar." LeBron James, who scored 20, had an eventful game off the court, banging his head on a courtside camera and accidentally flashing the ABC audience in a wardrobe malfunction.

posted by rcade to basketball at 09:20 AM - 11 comments

Oh how the tides have turned this first half. Golden State has cleaned their offensive game up significantly and the Cavs' support cast can't seem to execute at all and are resorting to a lot of mid-range jumpers.

posted by dfleming at 10:13 PM on June 11

Golden State will dominate the rest of the games but the
sad part is that no matter what super human effort LeBron James
puts out the media will blame him for losing the title. Micheal Jordon
couldn't win the title by himself, but back in those days the media
was intelligent enough to know that one super player doesn't make
a championship winning team. If you are as old as dirt as I am you will remember
in early playoff games teams playing against the Bulls would let
Jordon have his way and just stop everyone else. I think James is
one of the best players ever but until he gets a couple of good players around him Cleveland will not get the big prize.

posted by ic23b at 02:47 AM on June 12

He had three-time all-stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love with him all year and they finished second in the East. The problem isn't that he doesn't have good players, the problem is they had really bad luck with injuries during the playoffs.

posted by dfleming at 07:18 AM on June 12

I haven't heard much from the media about LeBron can't win anymore - that seemed to dissipate somewhere around winning the 2nd championship. Now, I hear the talking heads talk about how it's a win/win for LBJ - A win is one of the greatest Finals victories ever, and nobody can blame him for loosing with a depleted cast. The idea of the media lambasting LBJ seems to be a carryover from before his Heat days.

posted by jmd82 at 08:56 AM on June 12

Agreed jmd.

LeBron, even before the camera shot to the head, looked exhausted last night. He had the initial explosive step towards the basket and was able to get a good shoulder position regularly on Igoudala which typically leads to either a foul or a lay up - but his final move to the basket at times seemed very timid and often tangential to the rim. It seemed like he ran out of steam routinely by the time he got in scoring position.

That and the fact they got entirely away from his post game suggested to me his legs weren't giving him much power. At times on the bench he was getting massages/etc. so I wonder if he just had nothing to give in the lower body.

On the plus side, the blowout means he (only?) played 41 minutes last night and has two nights to rest.

posted by dfleming at 09:44 AM on June 12

and accidentally flashing the ABC audience in a wardrobe malfunction.

Best finals ever.

posted by tron7 at 09:56 AM on June 12

That and the fact they got entirely away from his post game

I thought Golden State did a lot better job denying post entry. It felt dangerous and a lot of effort to get the ball where he wanted it and even then they would often be left with little time on the shot clock.

The supporting cast, sans Mozgov, was horrible last night. Just abysmal. Shumpert doesn't want to shoot anymore. JR couldn't hit anything. JR is great right up to the point that you need him to be great, I've been being disapointed by JR for nearly a decade now.The fact that James Jones is getting minutes in the finals is utterly absurd.

posted by tron7 at 10:08 AM on June 12

It felt dangerous and a lot of effort to get the ball where he wanted it and even then they would often be left with little time on the shot clock.

You are right, but on some level I think the entry passes from Dellavedova were often haphazard. He was lobbing the ball in at such a slow speed that Barnes and/or Igoudala could pivot and position on him by the time he had control of the ball. He rarely got the ball in a position that allowed him to move immediately - rather, he had to reset and the move. But - even when he got position, he seemed to have very little power finish left in him.

Shumpert's shot selection last night was horrific - no wonder he doesn't want to shoot, because he's taking almost exclusively low percentage shots. He and Smith not only shot poorly, but shot so wildly that they didn't give a lot of second chance opportunities to maximize the fact they had a distinct rebounding advantage inside.

posted by dfleming at 10:15 AM on June 12

JR is great right up to the point that you need him to be great

At the risk of repeating myself . . .

posted by yerfatma at 10:19 AM on June 12

Kerr appears to have found a lineup that can overcome the Cavs emphasis of constant physical contact on Curry and Thompson even though the Cavs are dictating the style of play and flow of the game.

The Cavs need to find a way to get LeBron a 5 or so minute blow (elapsed, not game clock time) early in 2nd and 4th quarters . Problem is they don't have anyone on the bench who can buy minutes against the warriors second string. James and Thompson have been solid throughout, Mozgov and Delladova are playing way above their normal levels of play and are contributing. Shumpert and JR Smith have been horrible.

posted by cixelsyd at 02:25 PM on June 12

Way back when Cleveland swept Boston in the opening series of the playoffs, I made the comment that Boston's bench was better than Cleveland's. This when Love and Irving were healthy. It does not surprise me that the Cleveland starters are playing heavy minutes and are beginning to wear down. Dellavedova in particular seems to be affected by having to play more minutes than he is used to playing. His play in games 2 and 3 was very effective, but last night seemed to be lacking some of his usual energy. The extra day of rest will help, but will not be enough.

It seems to be LeBron's sad lot to have found another team that does not have enough behind him to win a championship. I know it's not over yet, but all the signs seem to indicate the ultimate outcome. This time it is the fault of the injury spirits rather than team management or any other circumstances. In a way I feel badly for him, but at the same time, being no fan of his, I enjoyed his tribulations last night. Over time I will mellow towards him as I did with Kobe Bryant, and recognize that his talent far outweighed his early immaturity and apparently self-centered behavior. Thank ESPN for much of that.

posted by Howard_T at 05:34 PM on June 12

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