Warriors By a Hair: Warriors 108 Cavs 100 — NBA Finals Game One

Steve Kerr said after the game that not only he, but the entire Warriors bench thought that Iman Shumpert’s shot at the end of regulation was going in. It was right on line, and maybe an inch short. One wonders whether Shumpert might have made that shot if he had trimmed maybe an inch off of his signature high-top fade before the game. And that, sports fans, is the most ridiculous lede that will be written about tonight’s game. 

Not that that missed shot was the play of the game. Far from it. But it was perhaps an apt symbol of just how evenly contested this game was.

Steve Kerr: I think Kerr coached a brilliant game, and in fact just may have stolen this game from David Blatt in overtime. But he was great throughout.

Did you notice how much high pick and roll the Warriors ran with Curry? I don’t believe they’ve had a comparable game all season long. I think the idea was clearly to punish Kyrie Irving. And that just may have worked. And abuse JR Smith, whenever he picked up Curry. And that worked like a charm.

Or it could have been that Kerr didn’t like how the Hawks, who run similar stuff to the Warriors, fared against the Cavs defense. Whatever the reason, this was an extremely bold and surprising adjustment to start a series. And very savvy.

The out of bounds plays, always a Kerr strength, were simply outstanding in this game. Extraordinary, and worth rewinding the tape for.

Did a great job punishing matchups. Did you notice how much more often they went to Klay when Irving was guarding him?

Stayed with single coverage on LeBron, stayed close to home against his three point shooters, and just decided to eat what LeBron was able to give them. This is a strategy that can look horrible all game long, only to pay dividends at the end of the game when exhaustion sets in, and the role players are not confident enough to step up. That’s what happened, isn’t it?

But the greatest highlight for me was the move that just may have swung the game in overtime: When Kerr removed Ezeli to go to the Dray at center lineup, and thus sprung a small-ball trap on David Blatt. And Blatt, much to my amazement, fell into it head first. He left an exhausted Mozgov in the game, and the Warriors suddenly began to run all over the Cavs. Beat them down court for several open shots that were missed, before Curry finally slipped the dagger in by drawing fouls in early offense. Warriors up four, Oracle in bedlam, Blatt finally got the memo and got Mozgov out.

Too late. Kerr gotcha.

Blatt: I was actually very impressed by his coaching up until his slip in overtime. He made several interesting decisions in this game.

The Cavs played at a very deliberate tempo, perhaps the slowest I’ve ever seen them play. Probably a great strategy against the Warriors. Probably a great strategy when you have the bigger front line. Probably a great strategy when Kyrie Irving is playing on one ligament. And probably a great strategy when you are extremely shorthanded.

Irving started on Curry, and did a surprisingly good job on him. Was this a good strategy? It might have been, if Irving wasn’t playing through injury. Now you have to question it. As well as the number of minutes Irving was played.

Shumpert started on Curry in the second half, which was no doubt planned before the game. I liked this switch.

The defense on Curry was frequently more of a switch than a blitz, reminding me of the Popovich defense: Pick up Curry above the three point line, and ice him in one direction or the other, preventing the walk-up three. Chase him over the top of the pick, preventing the step-back. Force him into two point land, and prevent the drive with your big man. The Warriors tried to punish this with some pick and roll, but I think the Cavs were satisfied with the result.

Isolation basketball: The Cavs isolated LeBron much more in this game than I remember them doing in earlier series. This will be critiqued, no doubt. But I wonder if it wasn’t a savvy move because of Blatt’s overall strategy against the Warriors. The Cavs wanted to take the air out of the ball, and LeBron’s isolations allowed them to run the clock all the way down.

Did you also notice how the Cavs usually iso’d LeBron on the wing, rather than up top like the Rockets did with Harden? And moved all four of his teammates to the other side of the court? That prevented the Warriors from employing the box and one that they used to keep Harden from driving. A great move, that required a superb game from Andre Iguodala to stymie.

That overtime, though. It’s completely mysterious to me that Blatt didn’t welcome the opportunity to match-up small with the Warriors in overtime. And he made another crucial error, in my opinion, in inserting James Jones for Mozgov, and not Iman Shumpert. The game-clinching play was when Iggy out-raced the slow-footed Jones for a loose ball at 1:55. Why did Blatt’s best defender ride the pine in overtime? What is wrong with a Thompson, James, Shumpert, Smith, Delladova closing lineup against the Warriors? It’s a mystery. With Irving out, that is the Cavs’ best lineup by far.

One other notable failure: Not having his team ready to foul Bogut and Iggy in the paint.

Andre Iguodala: I take back every bad thing I ever said about Iggy. Everything.

That I didn’t ever remember him coming up big in a playoff game. Has he ever come up bigger?

That he is afraid to take the ball to the hole, for fear of getting fouled. How many fearless, aggressive, straight-line dunks in this game?

That he is a streaky, unreliable shooter. This is the proverbial one game sample size, but what was notable was the confidence. Iggy went up with no hesitation, and literally hunted his shot, which is something we almost never see. For much of the game, he appeared to be the most confident Warrior on the court.

That he couldn’t guard LeBron James. The difference between this game and the February game in Cleveland is off the map. Maybe he just wasn’t at the top of his form for that low-stakes mid-winter road game.

Iggy’s defense on LeBron was extraordinary. Didn’t get overpowered – much. But more importantly, didn’t let LeBron get around him. And on several key possessions, like the last of regulation, actually got LeBron moving backwards.

Iggy guarding LeBron reminded me of a rodeo cowboy riding a bull. And on this night, the cowboy didn’t get thrown.

Can he guard him like this throughout the series? I’m not sure. I’m sure LeBron won’t be happy watching tape of himself settling for fall-away jumpers. But I also think Blatt might come up with an adjustment. (One that comes to mind is posting LeBron up much closer to the basket, on the low box. Not sure Iggy has an answer for that. Another might be playing more pick and roll, to get LeBron switched onto another defender. Jeff van Gundy suggested using Curry’s man, a rather obvious thought that didn’t occur to Blatt in this game.)

Iggy was the player of the game, from the moment he came in and settled his teammates down, to the final seconds of regulation and overtime, when his defense stood tall.

Curry: Obviously came up big offensively, often working on his own. But was most impressive in the way he handled the Cavs’ defense of the high screen. Picked apart the blitz with aplomb, ran the pick and roll almost flawlessly, after playing very little in this style, against this defense, this season.

Klay: Determined to get to the line. That’s what I like to see. 8-8.

Draymond: Really struggled against Tristan Thompson and Mozgov in this game. At the half, he had 0 rebounds to Thompson’s 7. The final tally was 6 to 15.

He also struggled with foul trouble, and his emotions.

But as the game wore on, the Cavs got weaker and he got stronger. And in the end, the Warriors actually wound up winning the battle of the boards.

Playoff Barnes: He didn’t get Kyrie, but he did get completely ignored. And he stepped up and hit his open threes when it counted.

He was helpless against LeBron, of course, but his defense against the Cavs’ smalls was surprisingly good.

Perhaps not the game his fans were looking for, but overall a solid effort.

Bogut: This is by far his toughest matchup of the playoffs, because of the size of Mozgov, Thompson’s quickness and activity in the paint, and how much attention he has to pay to LeBron.

Not a great game, and I’m not sure we can expect him to get better as the series wears on.

Mo Buckets: I should have known better than to predict Mo wouldn’t play much in this series. The Warriors second unit desperately needed his offense against the uber-tough Cavs defense.

Can you imagine this being your first game back after a several week layoff? Mo’s performance was off the charts.

Only 9 minutes, but I wonder now whether that won’t expand as he starts to get his conditioning back.

The Wagering: My under 204 bet bit the dust as soon as the game went to overtime. But I think it was a good call, nevertheless, with the total at 196 at the end of regulation.

I will continue to bet the under if the total remains the same. And with Kyrie Irving out, I think the bet becomes even more obvious.

The Series: Obviously it’s a blow for the Cavs that Kyrie went down. Not for any one game, necessarily — there are defensive compensations for his absence that were evident in the Hawks series. But for the series as a whole. Depth just became a major issue.

The Cavs are basically down to a 7 man rotation now. (I can’t see James Jones getting much more run.) Unless some of those other fossils on their bench can be dusted off, fatigue will be an issue in every game, and more and more as the series goes on.

The Cavs might take encouragement from their performance in this game, but this just may have been their best shot.

198 Responses to Warriors By a Hair: Warriors 108 Cavs 100 — NBA Finals Game One

  1. cosmicballoon

    Very exciting and well-played game 1. Felty, thanks for the recap! You probably only have 3 more now in your career now that Irving’s knee is shot.

    Bogut is going to have to change the way he plays Mosgov. He has to move him out of the paint rather than try to outjump him.

    Kerr was spectacular in this game. He used Speights and Ezeli brilliantly. Also, the game plan for Klay was great.

    The Warriors bench is so much better than Cleveland. For one Curry completely got up under Delly’s skin. Notice he didn’t even get a single shot up in 9 mins on the floor. James took 38 shots. That’s not sustainable.

  2. Nice quick recap feltbot.

    Thought Kerr coached a great game, one of his best even though it could have gone either way.

    Cavs intention to ISO lebron was a good strategy and helped to slow the game down, reduce turnovers and reduce the number of times GS went on the fast break. GS really only managed to go on a run in the second quarter (with the second unit and curry on the bench) and in OT. Otherwise it was tight all game and Cavs leading much of the way. It was working.

    With Kyrie going down, I’d say it’s just about game over. Even if he plays he’ll be playing hurt.

  3. Thanx for the summary Felt and the in-game tweets, again allowing me to fully understand what I saw and name it.

    I think Kerr would have played MoS more minutes if he hadn’t run out of breath. Mo was breathing hard. He sure does have a nice touch and can pass as well.

  4. I think “Blatt” played James Jones in OT because LeBron called it. They’re buds, LeBron trusts him.

    One of the drawbacks of having LBJ as team leader/coach?

    • I think so too hat. Jones was pulling off his long sleeved T-shirt, then stopped, then started again and pulled it off, as if he got the high sign from LeBron, then hesitated for Blatt to confirm, which Blatt did after a few more seconds.

      As Feltbot tweeted at the time, big mistake by Blatt. The Shump should have been re-mobilized at that juncture (actually earlier, as soon as Kerr pulled Ezeli, which Feltbot also tweeted at the time).

      The ABC announcer at the time said Blatt inserted Jones for his 3-pt ability. Really? The Shump had just buried 2 3’s, as Rod pointed out @ 13 below.

      And as Feltbot pointed out, Iguodala beat Jones to the loose ball, which was pretty good, because Iguodala started the foot race behind Jones.

      I think Iguodala was conserving energy all along.

      Iguodala said when he signed he was the missing piece.

      Did Iguodala somehow devine he would be needed in a future battle to defeat The King?

  5. My doc says Kyrie is done for the season, that he probably has a meniscus tear and the team shot him up with cortisone for last night’s game.

    Whether that’s true or not, in his last 6 games Kyrie has missed two and failed to finish 3 others. He gets an MRI today. Even if he plays again in this series, I don’t think he’ll be much of a factor. No matter how much you want to “man up,” knee problems are terrifying, and shouldn’t be messed with.

    • cosmicballoon

      +1 Irving probably won’t see the floor the remainder of the series. That leaves Delly as the starting pg, no? I don’t think the Cavs can hang when Lebron is off the floor.

      The Warriors depth is incredible. No drop-off defensively with members of the second unit in — and they were running like crazy. Down 13, the second unit brought the game back within reach in the second quarter.

      • +1. Usually bench players are on dimensional players and mostly offense only. With Warriors, the defense never rests.

  6. Fantastic stuff, Feltbot. Great read, as always.

    I’m miffed to discover that you can lose on over/under bet on an overtime game! That doesn’t seem sporting at all. You made the right call. If there’s no way to bet on a “regulation O/U,” at minimum they should void all O/U bets for OT games.

    • very unsporting, right? The bane of unders bettors, and the deus ex machina for the overs.

  7. Great post once again, Felt. Like Hat, I noticed Blatt/LeBron. How much coaching do you think was really Blatt’s? Or will we never know?

  8. The Iggster definety earned some of his money last nite. Dray got a couple big late boards and Mo added a spark.
    I was impressed with the Cavs quick hands, tenacity, toughness and board work. But not their bench. Kyrie, unfortunately, may be one of those perpetually injured players
    Great game to watch! You could barely hear MJax and crew..

  9. Illuminating, very fine, Feltbot and thanks—and same day delivery!

    A very encouraging game, and I suspect the Warriors needed this one more than the Cavs. Then again, the Cavs’ work just got harder and this was a discouraging loss. The had every reason to think they had this one, what with the score close with a quarter to go and James on the floor.

    Most, everyone, after they settled down, did everything we expected them to do, and Klay looks OK. It’s what Kerr has been preparing them for all season.

    The effect of Mo’s buckets was electric, changing momentum and getting the Warriors back in the game. I suspect we all, even his supporters, suffer from Oh No Mo-itis every time he launches, and he comes in knocks down his shots. I love the look on his face when he gets the ball—it says I’m gonna score, and he did. And he kept Livingston in the game and made him useful, and gave Curry a bit of a break. I wouldn’t mind seeing more Mo and Curry on the floor, however. Expect an adjustment on Speights next game.

    Start Iguodala—I was thinking this all game. They got off to another slow start and he’s a veteran who is more aggressive on offense and offers playmaking options. Not going to happen, however.

    I suspect, especially with Irving at the least diminished, they’ll have to move the game more to Schumpert and Smith. And does Marion not have anything left?

    Series still isn’t over.

    • I’m sure we all heard Van Gundy’s remark after Bogut (-6) ignored a dunk to pass out to the corner.

    • Hapax Legomenon

      Wouldn’t make much sense to start Iguodala based on last night’s game, since the score was tied when he came in…… and then the Cavs immediately went on a 15-2 run.

  10. The view from the other side—a Cavs recap. This guy is pretty good.

    http://www.cavstheblog.com/?p=34431#more-34431

    “They also both game-planned in opposite directions to take some element of their opposing star’s game away: one to try and get the ball out of a star’s hands; the other to force that star to beat them. For Blatt, it was finding a way to limit the looks that Steph Curry could get from the perimeter, and force him into drives and mid-range jumpers or to pass the ball to less dangerous scorers. For Kerr, it was packing the passing lanes to force LeBron into trying to beat the Warriors on his own with his outside shot and ISO-game. Both strategies seemed to work to a degree with Curry going just 2-6 from deep, and LeBron dishing out a mere six assists, while taking a game high 38 shots.

    “In the end, though Blatt’s gameplan of keeping the pace slow enough to keep the Warriors from blowing things open almost worked (the Warriors would have been held under 100 if the Cavs had been able to convert their last possession), Kerr’s plan to play the passing lanes to convert steals and loose balls to fast-breaks and transition threes finally prevailed in the overtime period when the Cavs simply couldn’t buy a basket.”

  11. Well written as usual Felt. Great observation on Lebron ISOs on wing. Two surprising things for me from this game, Iguodala’s performance and Kyrie’s D. Didn’t see that coming.

    Defending Lebron was like 50% of the game plan for warriors and they did excellent from coaching to players. Barnes couldn’t guard Lebron yesterday. Expect Lebron to go more into the mould of a play maker. Him taking 38 shots means he would not be able to uplift his teammates but control the tempo. Tough decision for Lebron for next game. He might have to rely on JR Smith.

    Also, I hope Kyrie comes back and plays Cleveland home games. I was impressed with his game yesterday.

  12. Felt,

    I will be careful with the Under bet. Warriors may score much more if Kyrie is out, he played excellent D yesterday. Without him, I can see warriors score much more.

  13. Felt, why didn’t you mention Curry’s defensive shortcomings this game? Shumpert’s two HUGE momentum-killing corner 3’s were the result of Curry falling asleep on defense. Never been more pissed at the guy than last night.

    • Me too. I thought it was Curry hedging on D, trying to help or make a steal. He tends to do that at the wrong instance sometimes, like those 2 that you mention.

  14. Just got a text -Kyrie done w a broken kneekap. See my comment above..

    Niners OT Anthony Davis retires at 25, too.

    • Was it broken or dis-located?

      • Fractured. Hard to see how it happened on that play though.

      • Just now read the CSN Warriors report — a fractured knee, requiring surgery to repair. He is out for the remainder of the series.

    • unfreakinbelievable that the Cavaliers medical team, or Kyrie’s, didn’t detect this problem earlier. He obviously didn’t receive the fracture in this game – when would it have happened? He’s had this problem for awhile and it wasn’t detected. Horrible medical care.

      With all the California-style handwringing about Klay’s head trauma, Kyrie’s fractured kneecap puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? This guy could have been gimped for life, and no one told him. Mofos.

      • Doubt that he had a fractured patella during most of the game. He was leaping and lunging with no apparent restraint throughout, until he fell. Then he was in obvious pain.
        Hard to see how that fall could have fractured his kneecap. Usually takes a hard direct blow.
        I wonder if the media is giving us the correct medical terminology for whatever is wrong?

  15. SonnyParker

    Nice recap and analysis Feltbot.

    A couple of comments/questions:

    What was your thought on the decision to have Draymond give an intentional foul with 3.1 left in the first half? I thought it was an incredibly boneheaded decision and could have been very costly. He had to sit a fair while in the 4th quarter and played with 5 fouls for quite a while.

    We had a back and forth about Iguodala when I first posted here 7 months ago. He’s played some good games amidst a sea of fair to middling ones. Last night’s was his best so far this season by far. I would not count on such performances again as he’s very streaky, although he will continue to make sound contributions and be a calming presence–albeit a very expensive one.

    I know the feeling from personal experience coming back after a long layoff and being lights out. I expect Speights to be a roller coaster of hot and cold. Just a hunch.

    I’m a bit unnerved when I see Draymond lose his cool at the refs. He’s a technical foul in waiting. It just seems pretty immature and I worry that all of the exposure he’s getting might be going to his head a bit.

    • SP, had the same thought about Draymond. Some complaining probably helps, some.

      • Worry about Draymond when he gets his first T. Working the floor and the refs are part of what he offers. I’d rather see him go off every now and then than rein it in, which isn’t likely anyway.

    • you’re not the only one who objects to some of d’mond’s conduct and interaction with the officials. he will always be the team leader in technical fouls, and it makes things easier for his goody-goody ‘mates. in my view, those goody-goody guys are more likely to be affected by the hype than d’mond ; to me he looks like a player who doesn’t assume he’ll have a job the next game if he doesn’t go out and compete for it. if you’re a no name guy whose regular assignments are the big name players on the other team, and they get their entitled quota of discretionary calls, the personal fouls being skewed are much more likely to get you benched than an occasional technical.

      • Hapax Legomenon

        Draymond was thoroughly affected by the hype. The whole first quarter, he was jacked up and out of control. He played terribly.

        • Sr./Sra. Legomenon, nice to have a member of the team staff join us, who has close knowledge of the players’ behavioural triggers. players with huge competitive motors are often at risk to get ‘hyped up’. ‘hype’ however can also mean something rather different, like letting publicity, marketing, recognition with awards, ‘all n.b.a. defensive team’ stuff, inflate one’s ego.

          • Hapax Legomenon

            Just expressing my opinion, as you did. You seem quite sensitive about being disagreed with. Insecurity?

          • SonnyParker

            How is Hapax doing anything different regarding his analysis of Draymond than you when you claim that Barnes’ ego was “inflated”?

            Are you serious?

      • “and it makes things easier for his goody-goody ‘mates. in my view, those goody-goody guys are more likely to be affected by the hype than d’mond ;”

        lol, you can say Barnes.

        • mr.barnes is hardly the sole member of the team deserving of the moniker. the demigod curry ascended to another level when he took his toddler up before the media in the post game scrum.

          • Only a fully grown adult can discover something negative about a cute 2 yr being herself. Like a branding conspiracy or workplace violations!

            Love Draymond

          • Cute kids are getting kind of old. Now if he had brought his dog—

          • Pressers would be a lot more entertaining with some canines. Most athletes just spit out cliche after cliche, if that, to the press. Stephs becoming a decent interview as far as athletes go

            I saw a pretty good documentary the other night on Baseball player Doc Ellis, in which he waxed nostalgic on the no-hitter he tossed while on LSD. He walked 8, but claimed he felt zoned-in! He liked his drugs. It also touched on issues of race and drugs in beisbol. It’s on Netflix

          • It’s not the kid I have a problem with. It’s the parents encouraging their 2 year old to act out in public in order to build their brand. I expect Ayesha to announce a reality show at any moment.

            But what is really disgusting is all the media members falling at her feet out of fear.

          • the guv addresses what my comment tried to raise. of course the toddler is just a young’un figuring out her world, and she has no control over her parents displaying her for the family brand image. if they persist, will she be able to stay uncorrupted by the show biz.

          • Whi knew Moto and Feltbot were such sensitive souls?

  16. Does it look like to anyone else LeBron is back up to or close to his former 265 lbs playing weight (some said 280lbs?)?

    I remember seeing photos of him and reading reports during the previous off season of him losing weight, 235 lbs I believe it was, and he looked like he lost a lot of weight in the photos. He looked leaned out (for him).

    To me, he looks real big and muscular again.

    • Yeah, definitely bigger than 235 pounds. That’s roughly Draymond’s weight, and he’s quite a bit smaller in every dimension.

  17. Losing Irving is a loss for basketball fans, though I suppose not for some here. What will also be hard is listening to the national media play it up.

    For reference, the Cavs beat Atlanta twice without him:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/6442/kyrie-irving

    We’ll always have the first game to go back to. Irving played very well and it was an excellent game.

    You have to wonder if things will get physical. But for Bogut’s holding, the first game was pretty clean.

    • the hoops gods have made lacob’s gang this season’s team of ‘destiny’, and the partisans will only remind themselves of the brand name’s long stay in the lottery with words like ‘deserve’ and ‘earn’.

      • SonnyParker

        moto,

        I know that you dislike the Warriors and are hoping that they loose (preferably badly and ignominiously). But don’t you think that you should give it a rest? You’ve been saying this same kind of stuff over and over and it’s pretty tiring.

    • SonnyParker

      rgg,

      Great to see you taking a positive spin regarding the Warriors, instead of lamenting how “lucky” they were! Yes, they did beat the Cavs with Irving playing very well for 43 minutes (the game was over by the time he left); LeBron having a monster game; and Mozgov and Thompson dominating the boards. And with the Warriors not playing particularly well.

      • Not sure where the positive spin is. The Cavs won’t be pushovers, but I’ve got my asterisk out. The Warriors just lost their last and best chance to prove themselves.

        It struck me how, when Curry went out after his fall, the Houston players let up themselves for several minutes when they might have just seen their best chance to win the series if Curry didn’t come back. And they would have. It is the level of competition that defines the game.

        I’m going to steer clear of all discussion about the team when the finals are over. The debate is between status—titles and people with titles (note how some first give credit to owners and their staff)—and quality, which takes us back to the players and the game itself. I care nothing about the first.

        • “I’ve got my asterisk out.”

          A line for the ages. Thank you, rgg. I’ll cherish (and re-use) that forever.

        • SonnyParker

          rgg,

          Well, I guess I misinterpreted what you wrote! The asterisk line is priceless. I sensed that you were going to give the Warriors their due but I guess not.

          Sure, the Cavs team is not as strong as we would hope. But it still is the same team that tore through Atlanta (i.e. without Kyrie). Plus, don’t forget that the W’s did not play particularly well and LBJ and Kyrie both had superb games and still won. Most every prognosticator had the W’s winning in less than 7 games before the first game. Why? Because they dominated the regular season entirely. That’s worth something.

          Finally, I agree that it should be all (or mostly all) about the players and coaches and what they do on the floor. Yet this blog–moreso than any other–aligns to an absurd orthodoxy that Lacob is responsible for absolutely everything concerning the W’s (moto even blamed Lacob for the choice of disposable cutlery at a promotional even!!). And this orthodoxy is guarded with great vigor against anyone who dares to disagree, as I’ve experienced myself.

          It’s very odd for hardcore fans (excluding moto, of course) to want to insist on the falsehood that the owner does everything. Who the hell wants to think this way about their beloved team, especially when the owner is as unpalatable as Lacob is?! Even odder still is the fact that these same people refuse to acknowledge what logically follows from this false premise: i.e. that Lacob should be given ALL of the credit for the W’s great success.

          I will write a post on this topic and look forward to hearing back about this sui generis take on club ownership and the perverse effects it has on the discussion here. I’ll let you know beforehand that it provides a clue as to why there is so much pessimism–and that it might have lead to Feltbot’s apparent change of heart about Nellieball. At the very least, it’s an interesting theory…

          • SonnyParker

            Correction: I meant “led” instead of “lead.” Feltbot’s favorite blogger Lauridsen always makes this same mistake….

          • Looks like you belong to the first camp, Sonny. Sure give him all the credit in the world. Lay palm leaves at his feet.

            Lacob’s serious involvement, his mistakes, and the failings of his inexperienced GM have been documented here for five years, pieced together from actions and actual words. What I find is that the status camp partisans never counter, in fact it never appears they investigate the people they promote. There’s a reason for this.

          • Meant to add—

            But I’m not going to dredge this stuff up again. It’s as tedious as it is obvious.

      • Tolbert when on at some length about the playoff opponents injured PGs.

  18. Everyone seems to think that the
    Finals are now a foregone conclusion
    now that Irving will not be able to play.
    Not saying it’s not, but there is something
    to consider and that is that Cleveland
    may be just as or even more competitive.
    Why might such be so.

    Namely because as we saw yesterday,
    Lebron was for all practical purposes Cleveland’s
    point guard as the offense was run for him. That
    should definitely continue Sunday. So who will
    replace Irving. It may well be Mike Miller who is
    both taller than Irving and also a deadly outside
    shooter. So, if he plays to his capability, Cleveland
    may be just as strong if not stronger.

    Also, last night raised troubling questions for the
    Warriors. Is Green going to continue to shoot 3-13
    from the field? No doubt that he is not going to be
    able to get to the rim as Mosgov are just too good
    defensively at the rim. So, as fans, we can only hope
    he hits his three’s, a big if.

    Also, Cleveland’s Smith surely will improve his shooting
    on Sunday. And T. Thompson should improve his
    offense as well. Blatt may well wake up and realize he
    shouldn’t play isolation with Labron but rather run
    a motion offense where other Cavs are brought into
    the offense. And Kerr may stay stuck on having his
    starting line-up play slow ball which will continue
    to depress the Warriors shooting percentage. Last night,
    44 percent. That’s not Warriors ball.

    I still think the Warriors would get more production
    from Lee, then they will from Green and Speights in this
    series, as well as from Bogut. But appears Kerr has no
    intention of playing Lee. Wouldn’t be surprised that
    Sundays’s game is very close if he continues to play small
    and without Lee seeing the court.

    I would still want to see Lee on the court even if he plays
    as poorly as Green did last night as I think he will improve
    over the course of the season. Don’t see that in Green.

    And Felty, while your argument is that Blatt was crazy to
    leave Mosgov in when the Warriors went small with
    Speight and Green, the Warriors success in the fourth
    had nothing to do with the Warriors going small. The Warriors
    got half their 10 pints in overtime as the result of fouls. So what
    did small ball do for the Warriors? Are you really claiming that
    small ball provided the Warriors with a better defense? Not.

  19. Maui Nellie

    More on Irving’s injury (from ESPN’s medical analyst).

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13020676

    • He sounds puzzled about how the patella could be fractured via that mechanism. “A tremendous contraction of the quadriceps”??

      • It can’t. If it could, power lifters couldn’t exist.

        Irving almost certainly had an undetected hairline fracture before the last game, and it finally let go. His doctors probably ran X-rays earlier but not an MRI, despite the fact that Kyrie was IN PAIN FOR WEEKS. MRIs find more stuff than X-rays.

        • You may be right but even a “hairline” fracture would seem to be painful and hard to imagine how he blocked Curry moments before with such an injury.
          I find it hard to believe that they wouldn’t have MRI’d their million dollar point guard 2 weeks ago when he couldn’t play vs Atlanta. MRI is an every-day test. Even the analysts on TV ordered an MRI for Kyrie after he limped off.
          And the quote I gave above was the dubious speculation of the ESPN medic who also couldn’t figure out how the stated injury occurred with the fall that we witnessed.

          • I agree, it’s hard to believe the Cavs’ docs didn’t clearly identify the problem that has been bothering Irving for weeks.

            My doc tells me that hairline fractures, stress fractures, etc. are sometimes difficult to identify even under MRI. I just wonder how much Cleveland really wanted to find a season-ending injury in a key player. Better for the team if he “toughs it out.”

      • It seemed to me that the injury caused the fall, not the other way around.

  20. I’m an unabashed die-hard GS partisan. In retrospect I kind of wish Hi-Top Shump’s shot went in to end regulation.

    Perhaps we can lend the Cavs Justin, BRush, and DLee, in the spirit of playground fairness. Since we apparently don’t need them.

    I think its a good chance the odds-makers guys have the Dubs vs Cavs at the top of the board start next season. Maybe it’ll play out relatively injury free then..

    • One more comment on injuries, a team can construct a roster to help mitigate potential losses. I compared both 15 man rosters (Cavs list 16 w love out), and count only one true stiff on the Wubs- the Cosmic Cebolla. In my opinion, there are six on the Cavs ( I saw Harris play mop up minutes. He moves like a 7ftr trapped in a SGs body). Devastating injuries aside, you’re not giving yourself any margin for error with such filler on the bench. A couple more average NBA role players and the Cavs wouldn’t be in such dire straights. So credit the Warriors on assembling a nice squad, which is separate from pure luck

      • I agree with this, and planned to mention it.

      • Who’s Carver?

        I’m trying to prep u for singing in the sunshine, rgg

        Let’s knock out each teams 3 best players (I’m sitting on my hands waiting on my perpetually tardy amigo). Since Varejao is out we’ll remove Bogut too. That leaves a starting 5 of your petsonal favorite Harrison barnes, Ezeli, DLee, let’s say Iggy and Liv. Not too shabby. The Cavs can counter with mozgov, TristanT, Shump, JR, and Delly. Flawed but it’s something. (I realize the Wubs won’t be setting it on fire beyond the arc either). The benches? For GS, Mo, Justin, the Blur, Brush, and JMMcAdoo. The Cavs? Kendrick Perkins, Mike miller, Shuan Marion, and Brendan Haywood. That’s a fine team in an over 35 rec league. Maybe I can start as their PG. We’ll grind it out as opposed to run n gun

        Guess we could throw in the youngsters Harris and Joe Kennedy, though I have no idea who the latter is. Maybe a distant cousin to the politoco’s dynasty?

        And we have the Onion!

        I’m getting confused as to what point I’m trying to make here, so l’ll stop.
        Still gonna read the article on your brother

      • SonnyParker

        Agreed but I’d add BRush too. he’s looked awfully awful this year…

      • Yes rzz, warriors depth, one of the best ever we have seen not just fillers except for Rush.

    • Gotta read Carver, rzz. How can you pass up a story called “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?”

  21. Cavs numbers without Love and Irving:

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2015/06/06/with-no-love-or-irving-cavs-have-been-pretty-good/

    If there is one silver lining for the Cavs in Irving going down so soon into the series, it’s that it has removed all uncertainty about rotations, matchups and style of play. The Cavs know what they need to do now, and who with. They can only win with defense.

  22. One thing I am not looking forward to is David Lee’s token appearance, and it may come tomorrow in the event of a sweep, before an Oracle crowd who appreciates him.

    I can’t believe Kerr couldn’t have made a better team, especially for the playoffs, by making better use of Lee. Seeing him on the bench has just been painful. But as the season and playoffs have developed, it likely won’t make any difference.

    But Lee had to adjust. He’s been tentative with the midrange shot the past two seasons. Were he able to show that, he would have played a ton of minutes (a 3 point shot was probably too much to hope for). I’m assuming he didn’t look good here in practice. He sure hasn’t been set up for many when he’s played.

    I still remember the game where Lee was on the floor, open, and was tentative. The camera panned to Speights on the bench, who showed a shooting motion with his hands and you could read his lips: Shoot it! Shoot it!

    • SonnyParker

      Agreed that it is kind of sad as he’s been such a great team mate and important player for the Dubs for years now.

      I fully agree on his loss of a mid range jumper. It’s quite odd for veterans to lose this. Indeed, most add this skill over time.

      Not only does Lee not fit in with the Dubs, he might not fit in anywhere if he can’t rectify this problem. Who wants an injury prone 10 year vet at PF who can’t shoot?

      Again, all of the people who pushed for Lee to start all year (by my count Feltbot, Marc, rgg, and Hat) seem to have ignored the obvious fact that without his outside shooting a Bogut/Lee tandem would have been an absolute disaster for the W’s spacing on offense–not to mention severely undermining their unique switiching defense. It’s still a real head scratcher for me and I’ve yet to hear a plausible explanation.

      • SonnyParker

        OK, just read Frank’s post so add him to the “Lee over Green” at 4 list. Unbelievable!

      • None of what you say is true. The evidence of the previous two seasons, reviewed here umpteen times, has been ignored.

        • SonnyParker

          rgg,

          I will give you one thing: you are unwittingly hilarious!!

          First of all, I agreed with you about how sad it is that Lee might have to get a token appearance–and that his mid range shot has been off the past two years. Basic logic has it that by saying that you disagree with everything I wrote, that you now emphatically disagree with yourself! Or at least what you argued for 20 minutes ago. Are we looking at a multiple personality disorder? Some form of schizophrenia?

          Brilliant!

          What “evidence of the past two seasons” have both of us been ignoring, pray tell…..?

      • Appears DLee lost his legs and thereby his mid-range jumper with the core injuries, though can’t tell for sure because of his limited minutes. Perhaps, as you say, this was evident in practice.

        • We’ll never know. His performance with the starters against top teams was quite good, limited as it was, but Kerr ignored it. He was too busy working around Livingston and Barnes, and sticking to his plan.

          But again, Lee had to adapt. Yet we don’t know about his shot, either.

  23. Maui Nellie

    “Special force at work for Warriors” >>>> Steve Kerr has left no stone unturned.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/13022401/nba-playoffs-special-forces-working-warriors

  24. An idea rolling around in my head and posted by knick on the FB blog is starting Shumpert at PG and JR Smith at the 2. This would give JR the chance to get hot right out of the gate and excellent D match-ups on Klay and Steph, improving the chances of preventing Klay and Steph from getting looks in rhythm.

    • Hard to believe Blatt wouldn’t do this.

      • Yeah, if both Klay and Curry are on to start the game, it’s lights out Cavs. The Cavs best chance to avoid that outcome is defending them with JR and the Shump right from the get-go. I imagine LeBron would play off Barnes and be like a center fielder.

  25. More on Barnes

    “The Warriors are quite pleased by this development, especially owner Joe Lacob, who especially likes Barnes. There’s even some guilt internally over how the coaching chaos early in his career might have put Barnes’ development on hold. Barnes was caught between the squabbles of former coach Mark Jackson and assistant coach Darren Erman. This season, Barnes has finally been able to growth amid stability.”

    http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/13023417/nba-playoffs-psychology-starting-barnes

    Glad he’s growthing now.

    • Barnes said a few days ago he didn’t know how to play when he arrived from college. I don’t think he got much coaching under MJax.

    • SonnyParker

      rgg,

      I assume that this is another dig at Barnes. The article goes on to explain why it makes sense to continue starting Barnes. The first reason is priceless and comes from Kerr. It serves to underscore a principle reason why all of the calls by yourself, Feltbot, and Marc to change the starting lineup to the bigger Mark Jackson lineup throughout the season and into the playoffs were senseless:

      When I asked if he might change the starting lineup in this series, coach Steve Kerr was succinct: “You realize we’re 80 and 18?” When asked if that means such a change is “off the table,” Kerr said again, “We’re 80 and 18. You can take that for what it’s worth.”

      For newcomers to this site: the principle blogger and founder–along with several of the key contributors–have been arguing all year long (and as recently as the 2nd round of the playoffs) for Kerr to change his lineup and insert David Lee at the 4 in place of Draymond Green.

      I guess success breeds discontent here!

      • You’re not even trying, Sonny. I could use the same numbers to “prove” the Warriors succeeded in spite of Barnes, and I could point to a great number of games where the Warriors won when Barnes was ineffectual to the point of disappearance.

        Yet all the evidence from the past on Lee has been ignored.

        And if you’re not going to read the blog, I suggest some reserve. The plan and reasons for starting Lee and giving Green minutes throughout the game, especially at 4.

        Whole civilizations and societies flounder or go down the tubes when they rely on received wisdom without thought or inspection.

      • Dude, don’t twist things around.

        FB and others have simply acknowledged the obvious – some teams play big, DLee is an excellent big, and Dray can play anywhere, including “Barnes’ spot.”

        Kerr has found other ways to deal with Big teams, though. One is to go super-small which, surprisingly, works great in limited minutes.

        End of story. There’s no Hate Barnes or Yay Lee thing going on, it’s just stating the obvious – the Ws have an AllStar duct-taped to the bench, doing nothing, while they figure out how to get a contribution from Barnes (they have) or Livingston (they barely have).

        It’s really a non-issue at this point. Myers will do everything possible to move Lee this summer. And Barnes, who came into the league not knowing how to play, by his own admission has made big improvements this year.

    • Incidentally, I agree with MJax here. First of all, because he is the coach, who has to make decisions on the floor. And, with the experience and talent in the starting lineup he had, he needed help with the subs, which is where Barnes needed to prove himself. And this is how promising players make it in the NBA, anywhere but here.

      MJax may not have coached the subs well, but he had a problem in the players Myers found for him, most notably those who couldn’t play point guard. And Myers has yet to find one, not even a prospect, in five years, not one he has kept. Kerr himself has had to work all kinds of kludges to keep Livingston in the game, and he does it by bringing starters to help him out, not a luxury that MJax had.

      MJax has been criticized for having Barnes run isos, which are not the most efficient offense, as was noted here. But it depends on the player and his teammates. Without a good point guard to set up plays, with the inexperience on the floor, he had to keep it simple.

      But also Barnes has limited ability to see the floor and make plays himself. The iso was something he least could understand, and since he was with the subs, he should have had favorable match-ups—and did. Really, it was an opportunity to learn the skills that would pay off now. He did miserably. And everyone from Kerr on up has said the only reason he has started now is that he needed support from the starters. Once you’ve studied up on Lacob, perhaps you give us an opinion of whether not he had an influence in this.

      Curiously, Kerr often resorts to isos with Livingston, which is the only way to put the ball in his hands and have him be effective offensively. He has been much more useful playing off the ball.

      You really have to wonder what Erman was recording in the locker room, and why.

  26. In game 1 Green performed poorly.
    In 39 minutes he made only
    4 baskets and missed all three 3’s. He
    can’t score against Mosgov and
    Thompson inside. Lee can and he would
    Have out rebounded Green. He could
    have been sub’d in for others as well.
    Series will remain competitive especially
    if Kerr does not pick up the pace.

  27. SonnyParker

    rgg,

    Referring to #18 where I couldn’t reply to you. Well, your responses to my last two posts have been exasperating–and, in one case, hilarious. You managed to completely misunderstand what I wrote, which is odd because it wasn’t a discussion of abstruse philosophy or difficult poetry with obscure references. And then you dismissed my misunderstood points as being beyond the need for a refutation in a haughty and contemptuous manner. In doing so you aggressively disagreed with yourself as well. Quite the trifecta!

    I do not want to give Lacob entire credit for all of the Warriors’ considerable success this year because I want to give that to the players and coaches–not the unseemly owner. Why else? In part because I think it’s clear that he does not get nearly involved in all basketball decisions as you and Feltbot insist. Several claims along this line were clearly disproven as the season unfolded. Also, I find the idea of being a Warriors fan means being closely tethered to Joe Lacob to be very unappetizing. What I was pointing out is the fact that those of you who falsely insist that Lacob is responsible for everything at the same time refuse to give him credit for the Warriors’ tremendous and unprecedented success this season.

    In any event, I know that you teach writing but I sincerely hope that you don’t teach reading as well…

    For all newcomers: Feltbot and key contributors have been criticizing the Warriors roster all year long. I know it seems hard to believe but it’s true, and you can get a sense of it in the above comments by rgg. The main blogger, Feltbot, coined the term “Lacob’s Cube” to underscore the argument that Kerr was bequeathed a horribly constructed roster. This schtick was trotted out on a regular basis all year long in an effort to affirm this. He also coined the related “Livingston Effect” to underscore his view that the Shaun Livingston signing was an absolute disaster that was certain to doom the Warriors in the playoffs.

    • (I am guilty of scanning your all the credit statement quickly and wrongly. Everything below holds, however.)

    • re. the great lacob’s involvement with personnel decisions — his own marketing/media relations (a.k.a. “p-r”), with the exec he retained from the cohan regime and promoted to exec v.p., ridder, as the brigadier, and everyone at the top level of hoops operations, has gone to considerable time and effort to emphasize how much the owner participates. from everything we’ve seen and heard, he wants to be considered and active and major player. we can be thankful that competition and the player’s mental state or advisors thwarted his desire for howard. he deferred to west with the love trade proposals in a manner of practicing what he preaches as a venture capitalist about installing proficient and expert people in upper management and knowing when to let them (with west, his threat to depart) set the course.

      observers can take the overwhelming success of the team as proof that the roster was perfectly sound. the roster’s redundancies and deficiencies were never really tested because the two most important players, curry and green, had nearly perfect health. perhaps you missed all the games when the leads evaporated with those two on the bench. virtually every successful lineup had curry and green at its core. livingston rarely had to function as a heavy usage lead guard, and the team looked pretty ordinary when he did.

  28. Sonny, all over the place—

    Actually, you have made the most extravagant claim of all here by giving all the credit to Lacob. It seems to me you’d want to support this. You’d study Lacob’s thoughts on the game and review all his decisions, coaches and players, over the past five years. You’d study his priorities. You’d read interviews, of which there have been many, to understand his mind and motives. You’d try to get a sense of the dynamics of this organization, also explained in the media and reviewed here. You’d also study the many decisions made by his GM. It doesn’t appear you have done this, or you’re holding out. It has been done here, btw, for five years. And his supporters never counter. Instead, they question the sanity and integrity of the critics, a popular resort among the trolls here, but not very convincing, no?

    As for Lee, the evidence on both ends of the court have been before our eyes the past seasons, where his visible performance and numbers were very, very good. Also sited here repeatedly. And yet you have discarded them. Or maybe you were still in Europe then?

    Or I guess we have to take your word for it?

  29. Agree with Hat that most
    likely Irving had hairline fracture
    that went undetected.
    Further believe his pain was masked
    by cortisone shots administered before
    the game.

    • Little doubt about the cortisone. Kyrie will think twice about consulting the team docs from now on.

      • A “hairline fracture” on the hinge that is the patella would move every time pressure was applied -i.e. pushing off, stopping, leaping, landing. This would hurt and would be noticeable. Two minutes before he went down he made a fantastic block on Curry.
        The hairline scenario doesn’t make sense. Cortisone shots are given for inflammation, to reduce swelling, not for cracks in the bone. And I can’t believe the Cavs would risk playing their star – for 43 minutes! – if they knew beforehand that there was a fracture in the locomotor apparatus. If they did we may be reading next about a malpractice lawsuit.

  30. Wouldn’t cortisone reduce
    pain no matter what the
    origin or nature of the pain?

    • No. Cortisone reduces swelling and inflammation. It would not prevent the distraction of a broken bone. The lidocaine which is often given with steroids relieves pain but it isn’t strong enough to cover up a broken bone for 43 minutes of NBA ball.

  31. My speculation is that they did give him a cortisone shot for the patellar tendinitis – a few days before, because cortisone shots take that long to work. The patella bone forms in the middle of the tendon. There was so much inflammation/damage to the tendon from the underlying tendinitis that part of the tendon gave way during that play and tore the bone itself. So the shot was working to relieve pain, based on how Kyrie was playing, but the underlying medical issue was too severe and the structure gave way as we saw. And I’ll bet Kyrie demanded the shot.

  32. Gnossos: Very impressive. On
    the limited information
    available do you think Irving
    should not have played and that his
    doctors should have known the risk
    and prevented him from playing?

    • Basically on NO information. They said he had tendinitis. Main knee tendon is the patellar tendon from femur to tibia with kneecap forming in the middle of it. Standard tendinitis treatment is rest, ice, anti-inflammatories – Ibuprofen, then steroids (“cortisone”) if not improving. They were running out of time. I’m sure he was lusting to play and I am completely fabricating that he demanded a steroid shot. But they do give them. Why not take a chance to play in the Finals? It’s a heroic story. Seemingly the worst could be that the cortisone wouldn’t work well enough and pain would send him back to the bench. I think a worser-case scenario emerged with the tendon and patella giving way. I am guessing the degree of inflammation and tissue weakening was greater than they estimated. It’s all fantasy but makes more sense to me than a pre-existing fracture.

      • Blatt contends there was contact, knee to knee, and I’ve heard the same elsewhere. I hate to think Klay took another player out, though this had to be an accident. I haven’t seen the replay.

      • Dr. Felt finds you persuasive.

  33. Guys, just so you know, SonnyParker is Longtimer. It crossed my mind earlier that SP shared LT’s obsessive need to intentionally misrepresent everything I’ve ever written, but it wasn’t until today, when it became obvious, that I bothered to check. They have the same IP address.

    I have tried to respect everyone’s right to their opinion on this blog, and have even welcomed trolls. But in LT/SP’s deceptive behavior, I think a line has been crossed. I detect an intent to spam, and for that reason I’ve blocked him.

    If I’m wrong in doing this, I can only say this: if your true intent is dialogue — which I already suspected was not the case with LT/SP — then stick to one handle.

    • Today felt awfully familiar.

      • His MO is the same—draw others out, misrepresent, then pass judgment on them, which seems to be his motive. I feel like an idiot getting suckered in.

    • LT/SP:

      Dude, we’re all just trying to reach clarity together here. It’s not a competition, there is no “win.”

      Play well with others or don’t play.

      Feltbot:

      Right on.

  34. Bet over as Kerr realizes from
    last game that pace has to quicken
    and team team needs to run.

    Speights shooting 4-8 no surprise
    as he hit shots he made all year and he
    had time to practice. His making shots
    in beginning amplified by other
    Warriors shooting so poorly but his
    performance then declined going forward.

    Fully expect James to outperform Curry
    series as he has a greater skill set and
    for Mosgov to outshine Bogul. And unless
    Green can hit the three don’t see him
    outplaying T. Thompson. So
    will Klay Thompson continue to outplay
    Smith? Stay tuned.

    • Kind of a toss-up re Green vs. TThompson. 15 rebounds for Thompson, 6 for Green, but 1-4 shooting for Thompson (Green 4-13). Green also had more assists & steals, and fewer TOs.

      Have to agree, though, that it’s very important for Green to start sinking 3s again. Green looked over-amped up for Game 1. Maybe his shots will fall more if he settles down.

  35. Frank is right—none of the remaining games will be easy. Cleveland has among the best defensive numbers of the playoffs, alongside the Warriors. (There’s no point in looking at the Cav’s regular season numbers.) They will pick up many of Irving’s points from the others, in fact there may not be much loss if the others get hot. And it’s impossible to feel relaxed about any team that has Lebron,

    They held Atlanta to 82 points in this game without Irving—and Atlanta shot poorly—while they shot well from the 3 themselves.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400796267

    The clock and fatigue may decide. But if our subs can’t score and give their starters a little rest, this one could be close.

    • cosmicballoon

      I doubt this series it going to remain close if Iggy keeps showing up as an offensive player. If this happens, the Warriors are going to blow out the Cavs.

      Curry: 25
      Thompson: 25
      Iggy: 15
      Barnes: 12
      Green: 12
      Speights: 8
      Barbosa: 7
      Bogut: 5

      Total: 109 points.

      This is a very realistic prognosis if Iggy continues to play with the same aggressiveness on the offensive end. The Warriors have too many weapons for any current NBA team to stop if Iggy, Barnes and Green are all aggressively looking to score. The Cavs and their thin bench have no match for this.

      Then there’s the Cav’s offense. If they reach 109 points in this series I will be shocked.

    • Umm.

      rgg, did you write that article? Your asterisks are slathered all over it, like daisy stick-ons on an aging VW.

      ps thx for the Spiro Agnew reference. My all-time favorite quotation from the pitiful political history of the GOP.

      pps my 2nd favorite GOP quotation: any malapropism from GW Bush.

  36. The over/under has adjusted downward, to 202. I’m not happy about this, but I still think the under is worth betting. In fact, given Irving’s absence from the Cavs lineup, it might be as good a bet as the first.

    The Warriors are favored by 8, which I think is optimistic. It’s going to be a close game, right?

    I suppose there is a risk of the Cavs simply throwing in the towel. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Right. The Cavs are used to working without Kyrie.

      Expect LeBron to try to involve his teammates more. Expect the Ws to continue to work to deny that.

      “Best player in the world? OK, let’s make him work damn hard and see what happens in Q4.”

      Also expect the Ws to make one change, to deny the paint to LBJ, hedging one player more in his direction after he puts the ball on the floor and starts backing down his defender.

      On Cleveland’s side, expect the same O with one exception, putting one 3-pt shooter in motion toward the weak side. That might open things up slightly, until LeBron sits and the Ws 2nd unit hits the court.

      Then it’s lights out for Cleveland.

    • IMO, depends if JR starts or not.

      • Also, will Blatt post-up LeBron, as Feltbot guessed? How about posting LeBron at the free throw line, allowing him to distribute?

      • And per Greg Papa, will the Cavs run LeBron-Mosgov P&R at Bogut?

  37. Regarding asterisk talk, Jenkins makes a very interesting point about the 1975 Warriors championship:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/jenkins/article/Looking-forward-to-more-James-Green-intrigue-in-6311622.php?t=ed72567b4e&cmpid=twitter-premium

    I think if you start to go down that path, you could find a way to put an asterisk on nearly every championship.

    • Damn straight.

      A championship team is a great collection of ball players assisted by happenstance.

      A great FO works to reduce medical happenstance by improving its team support staff. One of the first significant organizational moves by Lacob was to replace the Ws training staff with state-of-the-art pros.

      On top of that, Kerr added psychological assistance, which seems, well, a little California-touchy-feely-silly until you see the result in (not to mention names, but…) Barnes, for example. He leads the league in shooting at his position, no small thing for a one-and-done newb who, by his own admission, didn’t really understand the game when he hit the bigs.

      A championship team is a top-to-bottom effort, and success. Random stuff happens, that’s life. But minimizing risk – maximizing systems to reduce risk – that’s just the very best of human attainment. Take it from an occasional NASA consultant. Everyone screws up. Random shit happens. We cannot let screwups or random shit be mission-critical, we build in systems for handling the possibility of minor failures.

      Feltbot, I personally despise an America in which money is a goal. That’s wrong. Money is a tool, not an end. But it’s a great, powerful, wonderful tool when used properly, for the right reasons. And I’ll happily ride along even with a psychopath if he does things in my interest (while keeping a close eye on him).

      Lacob doesn’t have fans’ interests in mind. He’s a professional moneymaker, not a humanitarian. But he knows how to build a winning system.

      Yay Lacob.

      Now let’s get on with this championship thing.

    • +1000

    • if der Jenker suggests that Bos would be a tougher finals opponent than DC-pollin, they failed to earn it, no. the bullits (bulls vs. bullits never materialized in the finals when Bal/DC had the moniker) won the first game of the eastern finals in Bos, and the home court sufficed for them for the rest of the series. Bos lost the games they couldn’t suppress the scoring from hayes and chenier. in the finals, dickey played his career best ball vs. hayes and the GS guard tag team never let chenier really get off.

      meanwhile, GS with a fairly ordinary regular season record, in contrast to the present, had up and down playoff games both vs. Sea (during russell’s tenure as head coach there, spencer haywood still an impact player) and Chi. Sea tied their series at 2-2 with both barry and wilkes fouling out, ‘downtown’ freddie brown going off for 37. the Chi series turned into a defensive bloodbath, Chi winning game five on the road to make GS face elimination in Chi for game six. the losers of games 5,6,7 failed to score 80 points.

      does Bos take the series longer than four games in the finals that season, probably, but it was somewhat luck and quirky that GS swept, with a couple of the contests extremely close.

  38. Cleveland (Cleveland? Ohio? Really?) is a deer in Oakland’s headlights.

    By the time Oakland’s through with them, they’ll look like a pile of worms on the sidewalk.

  39. Brandon Rushs jumper went MIA sometime in the 70s in the jungles of ‘Nam.

    He’s a legit NBA athlete who can board and D up. To label him as filler or awful is not possible because he hasn’t played enough to be properly evaluated. Somewhat similar to the DLee situation, on a very deep team

    Don’t tell me the Cavs wouldn’t be happy to have him on their bench. He’d likely get 6 or 8 minutes of action tonite, I would think.

  40. One more note, on Si.com there’s an interseting article about a 6’1′ 42 yr old white guy training for six months in an attempt to dunk. The piece has some novel graphics. It’s called “Longform: learning to dunk at 42”

    In my 20s I ordered a pair of “shoes” through some magazine for about 60$. I remember the price becuz it was a lot of money to blow and I had to mull over the purchase. They were actually things you’d wear over your sneakers. They slipped over the front half of your shoes, but lacked the back half of the heel, so you were running on the balls of your feet, and toes, with the heels not touching the ground. They were “guaranteed” to help you dunk/increase your vertical, whatever that was worth. I only wore em in the back yard, or went jogging at night, they were so ridiculous looking

    My problem was more so small hands. Couldn’t palm the ball

    • Oh, rzz.

      Your best writing yet. Finally, American pathos on an epic scale, deserving of an opera.

      “Myy… tiiinnnyyyy… haaaands!!!”

      Forget Copland, Ellington, Gershwin, you’ve nailed it. Just put it to music.

    • rzz, will share these words of non-discouragement from Samuel Beckett. the player who upset the no.1 ranking guy to win the French Open earlier today has them tattooed.
      Ever tried
      Ever failed
      No matter
      Try again
      Fail again
      Fail better

    • rzz sighting:

  41. Awesome rendition of the National Anthym. Beautiful drums, a great mixture of hip-hop and ritmo latino.

    • your response is an interesting and welcome contrast to how the music professor and the professional musicians on the other blog responded. santana simply dropped a few notes, was either sloppy or forgetful with the melody. in the earlier discussion from the film ‘Whiplash’, the devolution of jazz into a conservatory, more effete form was brought up. blackman, santana’s spouse and drummer for this gig, attended the berklee school, which plays a huge role in converting jazz into a high brow academy musik, but left to study on her own from elite NY drummers.

      keeping true to the martial theme of the anthem, blackman maintains a march beat under what you describe as the ritmo latino, very similar to what drummers in new orleans procession bands do. this was one of the characteristic features of the new orleans drummer ed blackwell, who was part of the revolutionary ornette coleman band in its classic phase.

  42. This games a real knife fight. And we’re gettin sliced up worse than them. We’ll survive to see another day tho

    Buckets has to decdicate himself a bit more to hoops, and less to lining up first at the buffet

    • kerr still trusts speights infinitely more than lee. kerr put thompson with barnes and reserves when speights was on the court, and without thompson’s scoring they would have looked dismal on both ends.

      • Mo’s got some real skills but lacks Currys or Klays work ethic. It appears. He’s seems like the type of athlete whos gonna weigh 350 pds when he’s 45, it’s partially genetics and such body types have to work even harder to stay in shape
        I’d like to see some DLee when our offense bogs down. He’s the one guy who can score inside. Or at least he used to be able to.

        I still think we’ll be ok

        What movie looked better – “Ted” or “Pixels”? Or should I say worse. Has Adam Sandler ever made a good movie?

  43. Going to write Game 3 preview instead of recap.

  44. Draymond not shooting well.

    What are the odds some other team winds up with Draymond?

    Lacob publically stated he will keep what he considers the Warriors core — Curry, Klay, Barnes, and Green.

    • lacob’s ego, combined with his advisors explaining how replacing d’mond with cheaper alternatives, plus restoring lee, might make things a lot tougher for the coach and team, probably keeps green on his next contract. the other stuff they were pushing, about myers having an employment history with the agency who represents d’mond (tellem), simply evaporated now that tellem is going to join the Det front office.

  45. I couldn’t believe that after almost
    losing the first game, Kerr would
    return to slow ball. Unlike the first game
    the Warriors sent the Cav’s way more to
    the foul line then then did. Very predictable.
    Only by running and playing fast pace would
    that not have happened. And the Warriors
    shot a low FG percentage which was also
    predictable given we played a slow game and
    did not get out and run.

    I was stupid to pick the over in total points as
    I never in my wildest dreams did I think Kerr
    would be an idiotic by once again playing slow
    ball.

    And as I said Green is not going to do well
    in this series unless he hits the 3 ball. He’s yet
    to hit one. He shot 2-7 and that is only because
    he got two put-backs off of offensive rebounds. He
    simply not going to score inside against either
    Mosgov nor Thompson. He scored 10 points and
    made 4 turnovers. Lee would have score 15 points
    on more efficient scoring and would have given the
    Warriors fewer turnovers and more offensive rebounds.
    And Speights cannot be relied upon. Bad decision
    not to play Lee.

    Tonight Thompson was the only decent player on the
    court for the Warriors as Della shut down Curry plain
    and simple. Haven’t seen that all year long.

    But as bad as other Warriors played, Blatt is equally
    an idiot as his half court plays are simply boring. And
    he lacks consistent offensive threats. Smith, Shumpert,
    and Thompson are poor offensive players who have
    no consistency. Barnes, Green, Bogut, and Iggy, and
    others are all inconsistent offensive threats as well.

    Teams eliminated from the playoffs
    must be thinking how did we lose to either team they
    both have looked so bad in the first two games.

    Warriors are now behind the 8 ball and have to
    at least split in Cleveland, something they can easily
    do, if they decide to play Warrior ball by upping the
    tempo and running.

    • Don’t know if DLee is the answer, but Kerr and his staff need to come up with something by Game 3.

      During the game, I was thinking like JimH @ 48 below, regarding driving and passing the ball more, especially Curry, since his shot was off, and the Cavs were tight on him on the perimeter.

      St Jean said the Cavs were very successful with P&R. Why not the Warriors?

  46. Perhaps the Land-of-Cleve defense had something to do with slowing the Warriors down? Don’t like #8 but he certainly seemed to bother/slow Curry. That give-it-to-the-bulldozer and let him run the clock before dozing his way toward the hoop, ugly as it is, surely slows them down too. Would have appreciated a bit more driving the ball in by the Dubs as well, with either a shot or a kick out to an open man. Right now it looks as if the Cadavers have figured out a way to beat the Dubs, though as Curry said post game both teams likely think they should be 2-0.

  47. Well, I feel bad that I gave Blatt the recipe to beat us. The Mozgov/LeBron frontcourt is now a thing (again).

    https://twitter.com/thecity2/status/606323936628867072
    https://twitter.com/thecity2/status/606324044061810688
    https://twitter.com/thecity2/status/606324134801375235

    • I assume you’re being humorous Evan, but I can’t resist: Not sure you can argue that Blatt follows your tweets, nor even that he knew that the Mozgov-LeBron frontcourt was +21 in the first half, when he left Mozgov on the bench for the entire 4th Q.

      Also, given the fact the Cavs have precisely three players 6-8 and above, wouldn’t it be nearly impossible to prevent that combo from playing significant minutes, even if you wanted to?

    • That lineup hardly played at all this season. And I think not at all in Game 1. Maybe Kyrie’s injury forced him to go to it, but surely when Blatt sees how it destroyed us, it won’t be the last time.

  48. Actually, in spite of Steph’s poor shooting, the guards got their points—53. They’ve been here before, even against Utah, where, for a variety of reasons, they struggle against large, defensive teams because they can’t find any other offense beyond hoping Green and Barnes hit their 3s. They just didn’t see many teams of this caliber defensively.

    I just checked the stats—the Cavs only shot 32%. This could have been a rout.

    Mo, of course, was covered this time. And that was that.

    • can’t really fault the woeyr defense in this game. many of Cle’s shot attempts in the fourth and overtime were long, difficult, contested 2’s. l-b-j is getting accolades as Cle’s coach, but he won’t take sole credit to how they’ve adapted to play with and without love and irving, or the adjustments they make defensively or during the games.

    • “They just didn’t see many teams of this caliber defensively.”

      Memphis ??

      • 32 percent shooting by Cav’s meaningless
        the Cav’s go to the foul line twice as much
        as the Warriors do and Lebron
        shoots 14-19 from foul line. Game over.

        Felty, small ball allows opponents to get
        offensive rebounds at end of game. Because
        we went small Della got offensive rebound
        . Game over.

  49. cosmicballoon

    Will be very interested to see Feltbot’s diagnosis of the Warriors problems in G2. Here are a couple of takeaways from the first game.

    1) The Warriors are wasting Draymond’s brilliant defensive abilities on TThompson. Anyone (Festus, Bogut, Speights, Lee) can work to box out Thompson. Green is being wasted guarding him, and spending all his time trying to track him down in order to get a body on him. Put Green on LeBron early and often to see if he can defend without fouling. Iggy will likely break down having to guard LeBron 1-on-1 this entire series.

    2) Curry is pressing. Rather than looking to attack the basket (Which he has been able to do against the Cavs, Curry is hoisting up contested threes. He needs to try to get back into the lane to create open looks for the other players on the court. I don’t like to criticize the MVP, but the Cavs have done a GREAT job getting Curry off his usual spots. He needs to get back into attack mode and not worry about the three.

    3) Harrison Barnes needs to make his open threes. If he is going to sit in the right corner all game long, he’d better make the open looks he’s getting. Yes, the and-1 dunk was great in the 4th quarter, but it was literally the only impactful play of the entire second half.

    4) The Warriors need to run high P&R and Bogut needs to roll the rim. It is wiiiiiideeeee open.

    5) Continue to attack LeBron on the offensive end. If this series goes to 6 or 7 games, you are going to see LeBron falter. He played 47 minutes in regulation last night. If he has to work on defense, he’s going to struggle from the field in the latter part of this series. Already his shot seems to have deserted him a little bit, compared to G1. It will only continue to decline as his fatigue sets in. He’s been playing at an inhuman level thus far and he can’t keep it up.

    6) Kerr needs to go back to his bench. Let Liv, Festus and Barbosa run a little bit. There will be some turnovers, but this group puts a different sort of pressure on the Cavs defense. Give them instructions to push and pass and they could be one of the answers to the Ws offensive woes.

    • +1

    • Excellent takes here. I expect to see some of the adjustments you have mentioned here over next game like putting Green on Lebron next game until Iguodala comes off bench. That plus, Kerr should use bench more and prepare the team for a marathon, this is not going to be over quickly.

    • “4) The Warriors need to run high P&R and Bogut needs to roll the rim. It is wiiiiiideeeee open.”

      Why do they do this so little?

  50. More stats that hopefully Blatt doesn’t see in my twitter feed:

    https://twitter.com/thecity2/status/607910557786775552
    https://twitter.com/thecity2/status/607911841742876672

    Bottom line: Mozgov + LeBron = we get destroyed. TT + LeBron = we win handily.

    • EvanZ, how do you counter it though ? I thought warriors small team will win rather easily in OT but I was wrong. Small team is like last resort for warriors whole season and if that won’t pull through, it was like there is nothing else you could do yesterday.

    • LeBron-Mosgov is that much better than Harden-Howard? Or Howard really was hampered by injury the entire series.

      • Lebron by himself is better than Harden-Howard.

      • “LeBron-Mosgov is that much better than Harden-Howard?”

        I’m pretty comfortable with that assessment. The Warriors have no answers for them, as far as I can tell.

    • I think that is simplistic because of which Warriors lineups are faced by those two respective front lines.

      • By all means, what is your opinion of LeBron/Mozgov vs. LeBron/TT vs. LeBron/Mozgov/TT lineups?

        How would you attack and defend each? Which do you think we should have the most success against? Least?

        • Mozgov/LeBron is clearly the best offensive big lineup the Cavs have. But TT/LeBron is clearly the best defensive — and it’s unfair to judge how they performed last night in the 4th Q by the plus/minus: that lineup literally closed the door on the Warriors in the fourth quarter. Until JR Smith opened it back up to peer outside.

          Mozgov is clearly outplaying Bogut, and Mozgov/LeBron is obviously the Cavs best big lineup, for the same reason that Bogut/Green is the Warriors best big lineup. But playing that lineup more minutes than they are currently risks wearing down both Mozgov and LeBron. And conversely, playing TT major minutes is wearing out both Green and Bogut.

          Also, after the first game overtime brain fart, Blatt is clearly wary of playing Mozgov against the Warriors 4th Q small ball unit — and rightly so.

          I have had some issues with Blatt’s tactical mistakes, but don’t see much wrong with the frontline minutes allocation. They’ve got a total of 3 guys for the two frontcourt positions. All of them have to play major minutes.

  51. Wubs needed someone to step up and support Klay with Stephs off nite. Where was Harrison? His inconsistency is his defining quality

    Dellavedova has the instincts and intangibles that Harrison sorely lacks

    Boguts weaknesses on O were glaring last night

    Drays block on Bron epitomized the game. Great play, followed by random bounces of the ball, through Stephs legs, back to the Cavs. There’s always doubt in the back of mind regarding the Dubs. It’s ingrained after 40 yrs

    Stephs gettin raked over the coals a little bit, this morning. People have short memories

    • I love Steph but he was horrible! From body language to focus to shooting: he didn’t show up. Maybe he needs raking over the coals. I think he’s intimidated by LeBron.

      • He hits two more 3s and every bandwagon fan is tooting his horn again. I thought his body language was ok, though he looked a bit frustrated. He hit a couple big ones when it mattered. Him and Klay are very composed and even-keeled on the court. Overall, this is a great trial-by-fire for the team

        • If he made that game winning shot, it was a good game by Curry, after making a clutch shot to tie the game in regulation.

    • It’s easy to forget what a team player Curry is. He depends, in fact thrives, on their energy and cooperation. In this sense he is their barometer. But for Klay, everyone was tense and jittery. Curry also depends upon having options, and last night he didn’t have many.

  52. I don’t feel Festus will ever be a quality starting center, with his hands. He’s a nice back-up, however

    • I feel the same, but still be happy with him as backup C. May be a question for off season, shall warriors try to ride with Bogut+Ezeli+Speights Cs by combo committee for one more season.

      • green clearly overtook speights on the center depth chart this season. even when they played with green and speights as the 4/5, d’mond was the center on offense.

  53. felt guv, if you see l-b-j the exec v.p. firing blatt as the putative coach (implied by your twit), who will be in Cle next season, lue ? from my amateur’s seat, it isn’t totally clear that kerr is a better coach than blatt. a fair test would be to see how kerr would cope with the roster fluctuations as blatt did, and with blatt’s staff rather than gentry and adams.

    • Hiring asst coaches is part of HC job. Kerr will replace Gentry with another good coach so you may never be able to evaluate Kerr as coach.

      • cosmicballoon

        Zach Lowe brings up an interesting point that leads me to believe that Kerr and Gentry have had a brain fart against the Cavs thus far:

        “The Cavs got away with playing Mike Miller for six minutes. The Cavs should not be able to get away with playing Miller. They certainly couldn’t against Chicago.”

        Has Kerr even attempted to exploit certain matchups yet? The only one I can see is the Delly-Thompson matchup, which didn’t last long after Thompson turned and shot a jumper over him.

      • the staff a head coach picks reflects on his ability and acumen, but blatt did not hire his no.1 assistant lue. lue was Cle’s secondary choice for the big chair, similar to malone’s hire by lacob rather than chosen by jackson.

    • It’s not just about X’s and O’s, although Blatt has performed very much like a rookie in crunchtime of both games. From what I saw during and after the first two games, it is obvious to me that LeBron wants Blatt gone. Mark Jackson is a very likely replacement – he and LeBron are close.

      I think there’s a roughly 90% chance that Blatt replaces Alvin Gentry on the Warriors bench.

      • Felt,

        I think Lebron is really smart. If he hires Mark Jackson, I have to rethink about his smarts. JVG would be likely candidate.

        • As I said, I don’t think this is about Xs and Os with LeBron. Mark Jackson would gladly let LeBron coach, just as he let Jermaine O’Neal coach.

        • don’t underestimate the power of an adept confidence artist. a couple of tweaks to the roster, plus a decent staff for the mechanics and protocols, Cle can take the trophy with the preacher.

        • Im not sure of how adept a con man Jackson really is. I’ve listened to parts of his sermons (in a demoninational service) and i wasnt impressed. If its just about being LeBrons puppet, and Lebron wants him, then i could see that
          I havent heard much on Blatt being fired. And 90% is a high % feltbot. Would you approve of this hire?

          • Kerr already offered him the job once. Before Gentry. That’s what I’m going on.

            No, I wouldn’t approve.

  54. Curry, Thompson, Lee equals easy win.

    • the time for a lee restoration movement was back in Mar and Apr., Frank, and kerr clearly wasn’t interested. if the preacher were still the coach, maybe he gives lee’s revival a chance. lacob however wanted more than the power of prayer to get the team past the second round.

  55. Blatt’s offense is abysmal,
    boring, and one man show.
    Kerr challenging his Blatt’s
    ineptitude.

  56. Some thoughts:

    – Cavs are playing deliberately slow offense which is perfect for their one man offense; limit the number of times he has to goto work in a game to conserve his energy. However can one man go the full length of the playoffs and carry the whole team on his back? Shooting percentages point that his shot becomes suspect towards the end of game and to me that indicates that fatigue will start playing a major factor in this.

    – Can the Warriors blitz the ball handler and force them to make a play when they cross over the half court? This enables more possessions in the game and expels more energy on both teams on the floor.

    – Can the Warriors employ a Tony Allen style defense against LBJ with Tristan Thompsons defender?

    – Curry did a great job in hedging against LBJ in the PnR, but this was probably because LBJ was exhausted.

    – Klay postups were quite effective, especially against the smaller guards. We should be feeding the hot hand and forcing CLE to make adjustments.

    – I think Ezeli’s offensive game can give TT problems but if Festus is matched up against TT, can he be effective defensively in a LBJ-TT PnR?

    – Cavs did a great job in slowing down the W’s offense by sending guys back on defense after the ball was shot, slowing down our transition game.

    – Cavs did a great job defending the motion offense. W’s need to run more pick and roll, PLEASE!

  57. Just like David lee was very effective
    playing against both Mosgov and
    Thompson the last time the two teams
    played during the regular season, I am
    confident the Warriors can do the same
    in the Finals. As Lee skill set is such
    that neither man can alter or block
    his shot. This is one series Lee can be
    effective playing either the Center or
    PF position.

    With The Cav’s injuries, the Warriors
    have the superior roster. It’s now time
    For the Warriors to play up-tempo and
    run, as slow ball almost cost us two
    losses.

  58. Should have said it did cost us
    two victories.