The Edge: Warriors v Cavaliers NBA Finals Game 3 Preview

I’ve seen a lot of pundits predict that this would be an easy series for the Warriors. And of course, after the Kyrie injury, all the pundits doubled down. And even after the evidence of last night, and two straight games on the Warriors’ home floor in which the Cavs appeared to control the action from the opening tip right up to the 2:00 mark in the 4th quarter, the pundits were all repeating that the Warriors had nothing to worry about, they just had a bad game.

Really? 

I don’t know, I think that what I’m seeing with my eyes is real. And my eyes are telling me that the crippled Cleveland Cavaliers are not the crippled Memphis Grizzlies or the crippled Houston Rockets.

The Warriors haven’t faced a team like this Cavs team all season long. I think this series is for real, and if the Cavs don’t suffer yet another serious injury, I think it could go the distance.

I have no idea who has the edge.

Do you?

MYTHS

One of the things I’ve heard the most from fans and talking heads on my drive time, is that Stephen Curry and the Warriors “just missed shots.” Another thing I heard was that Matthew Dellavodova’s defense of Curry wasn’t really that good.

Both of these are myths. Absolute nonsense. And I’ll give you a few reasons why:

Dellie: I just got done watching the game a second time, and I’m here to tell you that Dellie’s defense on Curry was spectacular. Incredible.

He’s white. He’s chunky. His feet aren’t that fast. He doesn’t look like an athlete. I get the reasons why no one wants to credit Dellie with being a good defender. But Dellie, like Klay Thompson, is a living testament to the fact that an extraordinarily high basketball IQ, coupled with an intense competitive desire, can more than compensate for mediocre athleticism on the defensive end.

If you never take your eyes off of Dellie when the Warriors have the ball, as I didn’t the second time I watched Game 2, this is what you will see:

Ball denial: an incredible ability to predict Curry’s every movement, while knowing exactly where the ball is at every moment. And an uncanny ability to never get back-doored, or fooled on Curry’s jukes. He is literally in Curry’s shirt all game long, keeping the ball out of Curry’s hands, and wearing Curry down even before he can get his mitts on the ball.

Getting over screens: The Warriors should give Harrison Barnes the Clockwork Orange treatment with Dellie tape. Dellie sees the screen before it’s set, and frequently succeeds in jumping it, getting over it even before Curry does.

Face-guarding: I don’t know how he does it, but Dellie doesn’t let Curry’s dribbling exhibitions shake him. By the time the quickest release in the world is locked and loaded, Dellie is right there, back in Curry’s shirt.

Perseverance and Focus: Never takes a play off, never loses focus, never gives up on a play.

Give the kid some credit. He’s in Curry’s shirt. Big time.

The Cav’s Defense: I’m going to point out three facts about the Cavs defense that should be completely obvious to everyone right now.

1) The Cavs are bigger than the Warriors.  Mozgov is bigger than Bogut, and dwarfs Festus. Tristan Thompson has three inches on Draymond. You could fit two Harrison Barnes, and ten Harrison Barnes hearts, inside LeBron and his heart. And Dellie is both bigger and stronger than Curry. The only position where the Warriors have a size advantage is with Klay Thompson.

And the Cavs are bullying the Warriors with their size. It’s no accident that the Warriors body and ball movement has slowed. That their offense is getting stuck in mud.

2) The Cavs are more athletic than the Warriors. This gap is even wider than the last. Starting with LeBron, of course, the most athletic 6-8 260 lb man in history. Did you see him just blow by Draymond on the wing? That may be why Kerr is choosing to guard him with the much smaller Iggy.

Both Iman Shumpert and JR Smith are quicker and more athletic than Barnes and Klay. The Cavs have a very real speed advantage on the wings.

Tristan Thompson might be every bit as athletic as Draymond Green. Do you see him picking up Curry all the way out at the three point line? Do you see Curry settling for step-back threes against him? That should tell you something.

And Mozgov is far more athletic than Bogut, as has been made clear.

So the Cavs are both bigger and more athletic than the Warriors? What does that add up to?

It adds up to this:

3) The Warriors have never faced a defense like the Cavs’ all season long. Well, maybe one other: the healthy Spurs defense that waxed them in San Antonio.

The Cavs came into this series as the playoff team with the best defensive efficiency. Yes, better than the Warriors’ own vaunted defense. And that was playing with a one-legged Kyrie Irving much of the time. Their defense with Kyrie off the court is simply off the charts.

The Cavs are big, and long, and fast, and athletic. They are blitzing the crap out of Stephen Curry, as I predicted they would. And the Warriors’ role players have been unable to make them pay for it. Because the Cavs are big, and long, and fast, and athletic.

Don’t expect this to simply go away.

Shot-Making: Yes, the Warriors are also missing open threes. Curry has missed several shots he normally makes. Draymond and Barnes are clanking wide-open shots at an alarming rate.

And yes, these games have been very close, and a couple more made threes would have spelled victory for the Warriors. Right?

And so, when some of these threes start dropping, as we know they will, the Warriors will simply run away from the Cavs, right? QED, bitch.

Wrong.

Whose shooters have been more open in this series? I saw the Warriors resort to double and triple teams against LeBron in the last game. Did LeBron create any wide open threes for his teammates? And is it possible that the Cavs have been missing their wide-open threes at the same time as the Warriors?

I’ve seen the Cavs miss a lot of wide open threes. Dellie, in particular, has been ice-cold, at 1-6 so far this series. And he’s a pretty decent three point shooter. As are JR and Shumpert.

What happens when the Cavs return home, to their own beds, to welcoming fans, and familiar rims? Any chance that improves their shooting?

Here’s something else to chew on. Tristan Thompson is currently shooting .111 in this series. From 5 feet. And it’s not just Bogut and Green. He has been missing wide open bunnies at the rim, and appears to have a serious case of Finals yips.

He’s not this bad. This is a player who shot .545 this season. Any chance he gets better at home?

If you are one of those who is saying that all the Warriors need to do is make a few shots, you are deluding yourself. It’s not that simple, not in this series.

WARRIORS KEYS

So what really has to happen for the Warriors to beat the Cavs? Here’s my list:

Superstar Klay: With the Cavs playing their best defender, Iman Shumpert, on Curry as much as possible, and fully committed to a Curry blitz, the Warriors have to recognize that this is Klay’s series. Klay himself has realized it. He’s been phenomenal.

Klay against JR Smith has proven to be a total mismatch. Even if JR weren’t mentally unsuited to keeping track of Klay’s every move, and following him over every screen, Klay is just too long for him. He’s been shooting right over him.

And what’s worked even better is when Klay manages to get Dellie switched onto him. Dellie is not even in Klay’s line of sight. Klay is lighting him up.

The Warriors have been working this. They need to work it even more. And to do it, Curry has to be willing to take a step back.

Is Curry willing to do this? He has in the past. Particularly last season, against the Clippers all-out blitz.

But this season is different. This season Curry is the MVP. And if you ask me, in the last few games one of the most unselfish players in the league has been playing a bit selfishly. He’s been pushing it, trying to live up to the hype of his match-up with King James, chasing his global brand.

One-one in the series, home-court advantage gone, headed to deepest, darkest Cleveland for the next two games, it’s time to get serious. It’s time for Stephen Curry to climb back into his own skin.

And get his teammates the ball.

The Tempo War: I’ve seen comments that the first two games have been played at the Cavs’ pace. That the Warriors need to up the tempo, get out and run, ignite Curry in the open court.

You think Steve Kerr and Alvin Gentry don’t know that?

It’s not that easy. Because the Warriors cannot run if they don’t have the ball. And they can’t get the ball if they can’t rebound.

The Cavs have been destroying the smaller Warriors on the boards. Murdering them. And when I say this, I’m talking chiefly about the bigs. Bogut and Green have been completely overmatched by Mozgov and Tristan Thompson. And LeBron against Barnes is child’s play.

This has required the Warriors guards to collapse into the paint on every shot, to help their bigs out on the boards. And that means bye bye, leakouts. And bye bye, fast break.

In the last game, Curry had 6 rebounds, Klay 5, Iggy 6. And the Warriors were still outrebounded by 10.

Can this be turned around? I’m not sure. Are you?

The X-Factor: I called Draymond Green a key to this series in my preview. And while he was much better in the last game than in the first, he hasn’t come close to giving the Warriors a dominating performance.

Far from it. He’s getting worked on the boards. He’s been unable to do anything against Mozgov but foul. And he can’t hit an outside shot.

This shooting slump he’s in actually stretches back to the Grizzlies series. He’s 5-34 on threes in his last 9 games. That’s no way to break the Curry blitz.

Is fatigue catching up to Draymond Green? Whatever it is, he needs to snap out of it in one of the next two games. I’m not sure the Warriors can beat the Cavs unless the X-Factor comes up big.

Can he, against King James, Tristan Thompson and the Mozgosaurus? I’m not sure. Are you?

Pick and Roll: Watching the last game, my mind wandered back to something that Jeff van Gundy said two years ago, when broadcasting the Warriors second round match with the San Antonio Spurs:

The difference between these two teams is that one has players who can finish a pick and roll, and the other doesn’t.

Remember that? And doesn’t that describe exactly what is going on in this series? Curry is getting the crap blitzed out of him, and the Warriors can’t get a damn thing out of it. Because the Warriors can’t finish a pick and roll.

They aren’t even trying. How many times has Bogut rolled to the hoop? How can he even get there, when he’s setting picks at the three point line against the Cavs extended defense? Festus Ezeli can finish a pick and roll. But has Kerr even given him one chance? Draymond Green has been a favored high pick and roll player in the small lineup this season. But against this giant Cavs team, how much time can Kerr give the small lineup?

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that it crossed my mind that there is a player buried on the Warriors bench who could both help the Warriors rebound, and help break the Curry blitz on the other end. A player who did exactly that in last season’s playoffs against the vaunted Clippers front line, and helped extend that series to seven games, without Bogut, without Ezeli, without Jermaine O’Neal. While playing on one leg.

There is a player on the Warriors bench who, with Draymond Green as his wing man, beat the World Champion Heat’s Curry blitz with crunch time pick and roll. In Miami. Twice, in two seasons. Any similarities between that Heat team and the Cavs’ crunch-time lineup?

The forgotten All-Star. The man whose name must not be spoken.

Is it possible that the Warriors need him? Would Steve Kerr go to him, even if they did? I don’t know.

Do you?

The Wagering: I somehow managed to bank my Game 2 under bet, even though the game once again went to overtime. But that will be my last under bet of this series. The line has plummeted from 204 in the first game, to 202 in the last game, all the way down to 194 in Game 3.

That’s it for me. The true nature of this series is now obvious to everyone. There is zero edge at this price.

And I don’t bet without edge.

Do you?

80 Responses to The Edge: Warriors v Cavaliers NBA Finals Game 3 Preview

  1. Thanx Feltbot, informative and illuminating.

    Kerr said he has to get his guys some shots in rhythm. That he does. But how? With the same motion offense the Cavs got figured out? And which guys? Bogut rolling to the rim? How many times he did that? Bogut dunking lobs? How many times he did that? Over a guy bigger, taller, longer, quicker, and more athletic than him? And a guy very willing to roll to the rim, as EvanZ amply described and documented with stats.

    Wouldn’t DLee and Ezeli stand a better chance?

    Mo’s weight and lack of conditioning finally caught up with him, as hat pointing out for awhile now.

    Chances are pretty good we see more of MoS than DLee, might not see DLee at all.

  2. “The Warriors have never faced a defense like the Cavs’ all season long. ”

    Are you sure Felt. I think Memphis D was as good if not better.

    “The Cavs have been destroying the smaller Warriors on the boards. Murdering them.”

    This is factually incorrect. Warriors out rebounded Cavs in the first game. May be your bias that Green should start at SF and Lee at PF is blinding you, just may be.

    I think the key is pace. They need to get into passing lanes and get some steals and they can’t let Tristan Thompson get offensive rebounds. All equal, if warriors don’t give edge to Cavs with rebounding like 1st game, I don’t see the Cavs winning a game. Cavs needed to take 7 more shots and 12 more FTAs to win last game with narrowest margin.

    I don’t understand how you see Lee will help warriors anyway. He can’t help this season. All aside, he can’t get into rhythm after not playing for couple of weeks. Mo adds lot more value by just knocking down jumpers and Barnes keeping defenses honest at perimeter.

    I have seen warriors score 100 easily on bad shooting nights, that is what they need to do. I don’t expect any team to shoot well in rest of the finals. Don’t let Lebron dribble for 20 seconds before he makes a move. Play him aggressively, make him lose dribble and force the action especially when you have Bogut there at the rim.

    You are right that ‘Curry has missed several shots he normally makes.’

    Add all the things, I don’t see Cavs win more than one game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Warriors come home 3-1.

    My 2 cents.

    • cosmicballoon

      Pace is definitely key here. If the Warriors can get the ball out of ‘Bron’s hands by applying early pressure, this series might turn into more a of shootout. The other Cleveland players would attack the rim and take quicker shots, which may or may not be better than what they are getting right now.

      IMO, this would be a good thing. It would mean the Warriors are applying more defensive pressure and forcing LeBron and teammates to make quicker decisions. This leads to less complexity and more running…and we may once again get to see the Steph Curry pull up three. It would also mean that the games get back into the 100s — a place the Warriors are very comfortable.

      • Agree. I think the warriors bought little too much into let ‘Lebron shoot from outside’, leave him open there which kind of in turn worked against warriors denying themselves to play at the pace they are winners.

  3. I’ve always been a DLee fan but he’s got to be rusty at this point.

    LeBron makes nearly every other NBA player look like junior high players. I’m sure Steph thinks he’s as good but the fact is, he isn’t. (Which probably affected his attitude towards Delly.) Still, good coaching and teamwork just might beat the Cavs.

  4. It’s a mistake to emphasize Thompson’s
    poor shooting as he’s taken 9 shots
    In two games. His outstanding value is
    that in the two games he’s given his
    team via offensive rebounds, steals, and
    blocks, over 6 net extra possessions each
    Game. An astounding number. David Lee
    would not only reduce Thompson’s number
    but probably come close to offsetting
    his numbers. Moe importantly, lee would
    outscore either Bogut or Green who he’d
    be subbing in for. Glad you finally
    Took your Green blinders off and came
    around to my viewpoint that Lee should
    be playing.

    While the Cavs do have a better defense
    it’s not entirely due to their size or
    quickness. It’s due too them having better
    defender overall than the Warriors do.

    Nothing prevents the Warriors from
    quickening their pace in the half-court
    game. They have shown all year long
    through inventive plays to score quickly
    in the paint. They haven’t run those
    plays because they fear increased
    turnover. They should be concerned
    instead with FG percentage which has
    pummeled employing a slow pace, and
    has allowed for the negative free throw
    differential to explode in the second
    game. Kerr has been a disaster so far in
    the Finals. He made no adjustment to
    slow down Della.

    Will he continue to rely on slow ball.
    We’ll find out tonight.

  5. Nellie would have the Warrior’s
    running. Seems like you have
    converted to Lacob’s preference
    for a slow pace. Very sad.

    • Kerr and Warriors would love to run too, but failed to do so not because of their preference for slow tempo.

  6. Maybe they do get by anyway. The Warrior defense is good, the Cav offense predictable and not that great. Why they can’t work this difference better is the question, and everything points to their offense.

    They’ve been in this situation only a handful of times this season, given the teams now and the way the season played out, where they faced larger defensive teams, and cause for concern was shown. Yet Kerr has made no adjustments to the starting lineup and only minor tweaks to the offense.

    Memphis is a good example. Postseason, when the Grizzlies had both Conley and Allen and good perimeter defense, the Warriors struggled with offense and lost both games. Curry was distracted by the MVP schtick? Then what was the reason last Sunday night? The 12/16 game they lost both Klay and Steph struggled. In the 3/27 game, which they won, they had phenomenal shooting from Klay and Steph—66 points at exceptional percentage. In almost all cases, they couldn’t get much scoring from the other three starters—Barnes, Green, or Bogut—and in all cases not enough to tip the scales. San Antonio and Utah provided similar examples. In other games against lesser opponents, they were simply bailed out by exceptional performances by Klay and/or Steph.

    Game logs here, for those who check impressions against the stats:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/3975/stephen-curry

    Win or lose, the loser is going to be Curry. He is put before the public eye as the hero, the giant killer in the battle of MVPs. Anything less will be a disappointment. He can do this, have great to phenomenal nights. It may well take three more to win the series, unless Klay goes on a tear himself, as he did first half of Game 2. What is lost here is Curry’s true talent and genius as a point guard. And Curry takes this very seriously.

    Zach Lowe captured the inertness of the offense in Game 2:

    https://grantland.com/the-triangle/making-sense-of-the-madness-in-game-2-of-the-nba-finals/

    In chess it is possible to measure strength on the board by looking at the pieces and evaluating position, measuring how much space they control. If the same were done for the Warrior offense, there just isn’t much there. Even if Curry breaks the blitz, he doesn’t have many options. Passes create few openings. And the three other starters can’t force the action.

    The concern from Kerr and Curry himself Game 2 was that he couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm. Curry’s shooting depends on total team performance, how much he can set up other players and step in. And if options work elsewhere, he is is given more openings to step in. If the offense isn’t moving, he feels it, and I suspect this disrupts him as much as anything. In Game 2, he essentially had to carry the team on his shoulders, and it showed. This is not how he wants to play or the best way to use him.

    Lebron can bull his way to the hoop against anyone. Curry has to find his lanes, which come when the court is spread and the offense active. It is the reason he has preserved his health all season—and likely the reason other point guards, who force penetration, have gone down.

    Lebron is the coach, who controls the offense himself and sets up his options, of which he as a few in the shooters and Mosgov.

    Curry has to take the roster and system Kerr gives him and do the best he can.

    The comparison not only is not fair, it doesn’t make sense.

  7. There’s no reliable third scoring option beyond the Splash Brothers. Its a bit of a hope and a prayer that Dray, Iggy, Barnes(gulp), Mo, someone steps up and has a decent shooting night.
    I’m not disparaging Draymond here, but he can’t be counted on for points. And I’d be a lot more gung-ho on dLee if he wasn’t so prone to giving it back on D. He may still see some minutes in a Wubs uniform.

    • the concern voiced months ago by the guv and affirmed by most of us, d’mond getting ground down, has probably materialized in his reduced energy level on offense and poor shooting.

      marcus thompson II raised some team shooting numbers for the post season and the team has done markedly better on the road than at home. this might be one area where their lack of post season experience suppresses their performance. their player with the most post season experience, and by a fair margin, has been very solid on offense, so don’t be surprised if kerr increases barbosa’s role.

      mentioned by the guv, iguodala’s scoring can also give them the advantage, especially since he is now kerr’s preferred defender vs. l-b-j. d’mond playing off l-b-j in that configuration also boosts the team’s defense on the rest of the court. kerr became accustomed to the green/barnes/iguodala front line giving him the advantage, and he has to find either a means to revive it, or make barnes sit if he can’t assert himself on offense.

  8. Mozgov had 1 foul in Game 2. It’s incredible how little pressure we are putting on him.

    • +1. I saw many occassions Bogut on 1-1 situation close to rim and just passed the ball. He should be instructed to go hard to rim even if he may get blocked.

    • I would have listed Bogut as part of the hope-and-prayer crew i mentioned above, but i’ve given up on his O. Maybe he’ll surprise us by by looking towards the rim when he has the ball. What the hell, its the Finals, right?
      14-16 points from him would be monumental.

      • 14-16 is above what he can do, unfortunately. 8-10 pts in 28 mins is all probably needed to go with better rebounding and usual defense.

        • 8-10 Bogut points per game wins the Warriors the Championship. Can Bogut (realistically) do this? He don’t look energetic out there to me.

          The Warriors win the Championship if both Curry and Thompson are on every game, which in this series means Curry finding his guys for rhythm shots (especially Klay) and other guys like Iguodala, Green, and Ezeli for some lay-ups and dunks.

          A lady friend of mine watched part of Game 2 with me and said Curry had dark circles under his eyes like he wasn’t getting enough sleep.

          • About dark circles under Curry’s eyes, there were reports his family was forcing him to get his nap while he wanted to stay late with them. I think the thought 1-0 in NBA finals and media giving trophy to warriors prematurely got into his mind. But, he is a quick learner as we have seen.

            About Bogut getting 8-10 pts, it is possible. That guy has such a soft touch and gets so many 1-1 opportunities, he should be able to score aka Biedrins but with better handles for a big man.

  9. Gotta mention this too, it relates to Steph bringing his daughter Riley to the press conference, but I dont believe Steph is chasing his global brand, or even thinking about this, especially when 3 Cavs are swarming him. Its pure speculation, and i’ll speculate he’s just thinking about ways to help his team win.
    Why would a reasonable guy, with a family, want a “global brand?’. He’s already mega-rich, and if he enjoys having any privacy at all, and not being swarmed by a throng of prodding humanoids everytime he goes out in public, this is the last thing he should foster. Think he just wanted to bring his excited toddler along to the press conference, as a proud dad. I doubt he’ll do it again, seeing what kind of spin people put on it

    • it was curry’s spouse who instigated the toddler’s tag-along. the wife had a career in modeling and show biz.
      the team’s better shooting numbers on the road for the playoffs (counter to the convention, better rest and familiar rims at home) presents circumstantial evidence that the increased distractions at home outweigh the advantages. the media who weren’t charmed by the daughter weren’t anti-kids ; they wanted to stay focused on their bidness.

    • cosmicballoon

      He is developing a global brand, like it or not.

      It’s admirable how Steph uses his global platform to further some solid family values. I, for one, appreciate the fact that his wife sits with his parents at the game, and that he’s confident enough to have his daughter with him at the pressers.

      Steph is an articulate star who has a great head on his shoulders. If anything, he is trying to justify winning the MVP award during this finals. Like Felt pointed out, his game is a little out of whack right now because he is not doing the things that made him the MVP. IMO, he needs to facilitate first and demand that his teammates take the shots that he provides for them. If ANYONE besides Klay has a solid game, the Warriors win. Three Warriors scoring the basketball is almost enough to beat the Cavs.

      • the guv pointed out the Cle players whose scoring has also been suppressed ; more diverse scoring sources can work both ways.

    • In Riley’s words (that I made up): “Daddy is playing like poop.”

      • Yeah, lol. Thats the important thing. Hoops!

        And he played like poop again, in the first half

        Speaking of poop, im getting a whiff of Harrison’s

  10. The Warriors might have offered David Lee, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green for Love — there is some debate about that now3 — but talks never got that far, since everyone involved understood that Saunders wouldn’t listen to any deal that didn’t include Thompson. “Nothing else ever got off the ground,” says Warriors GM Bob Myers. “Flip is a pretty straight shooter.”

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/whats-next-for-kevin-love/

    • the grantland piece includes some interesting bits from adams while he was working in Chi and Bos. he thought green would be an ideal player for Chi, and scouted thompson for Bos, a reason he valued the player extremely highly before coming to oaktown.

  11. Obviously, the Warriors think
    they have a better chance of
    winning is by playing slow ball.
    I’m not saying playing up-too will
    succeed but they should have found
    out. They should do so now even
    they haven’t done so in two weeks of
    practice.

    Same goes for David Lee. Even though
    rusty, put him in there.

    Like how Della denied Curry the ball.
    We should get ball out Lebron’s
    hands and deny ball being passed
    back to him.

  12. I thought Kerr lost his composure a bit, what with being out of character sarcastic and short.

    Blatt stayed his usual calm self so far.

  13. a big edge for the visitors tonight — they are 18-2 when one of the refs are on their game crew.

  14. Will Kerr/Gentry/Adams make adjustments, or do they believe the guys just need to execute their motion offense better?

  15. Like to see Lee and Speights in
    there for more offense. Shooting
    34 percent not going to cut it.

    Need to cause more turnovers.
    Cav’s have only 6. Need a
    disrupting defense.we’re on our
    heels.

  16. Why did Iggy not start
    2nd half over Barnes?

  17. Jesus. It’s a different team with Lee in there. That’s incredible.

  18. This whole things come full circle, Feltbot. I think David Lee really is the key to our championship hopes

    I’ll be peeved if he isn’t starting next game

  19. Did Curry and DLee run high P&R with or without Kerrs permission?

  20. Question:

    What’s blue and gold and white and was +17 for the night?

    • I’m guessing DLee.

    • Navy in dress whites?

    • The most surprising thing about Lee’s performance is that there was no surprise at all. The offense opened up immediately. We’ve seen this from him for years.

      And all Kerr can talk about is emotion and energy. The chemistry experiment is over. Put the professional NBA players on the floor. They don’t do this without Lee and Iguodala.

      • And now Lee is being interviewed and is telling exactly why the offense worked.

      • And now they are debating whether they should bench Green for David Lee. Did no one watch them play together last season.

        #BenchBarnes

  21. I’ve only watched Q1 of Game 2 so far and none of G3, but already seen some of the things you mentioned in Game 1 and 2. Thought I would come in here and say that I was one of those that said Kyrie out would make it easier on the dubs, but was totally wrong. What they miss on the offensive end from kyrie is going to LeBron anyway. They are also more than making up for it on the defensive end with Dellavedova on the floor harassing Curry on every play.

    Now that Game 3 is done and dusted, I liked how impactful Lee was so hopefully Kerr won’t wait until the end of the game to use him again. I can see Lee at the 5 working (much better than at the 4). Who can defend Lee on the pick and roll on the cavs? No-one.

    One thing I thought of was the number of possessions has drastically reduced over the first few games. And the ball is getting back to Curry and he’s putting up difficult shots at the end of the shot clock. There’s no better person than Mo Buckets getting early shots and if he gets going like he did Game 1 he can help the warriors.

  22. Also I was wondering do you guys think the scheduling of the breaks between games makes any difference?

    There were 3 days between games 1 and 2 giving extra time for the away team (Cleveland) to adjust.

    There were then 2 days to adjust between Games 2 and 3 and 4 meaning less practice to get things right.

    There’s 3 days between Games 4 and 5.

    Then 2 days to Game 6 and then 3 days to Game 7.

    Everytime it goes back to GS there’s 3 days. I know its kinda soft to complain about the scheduling but why don’t they make it fairer.

    • with the national broadcast schedule setting games on Thurs and Sun, home court advantage for the finals also means more rest days at home for the top seed.

  23. l-b-j and blatt simply have their team playing cohesively and at their full potential while curry and kerr do not. even if his team prevails in six or seven, the demi god curry still has room to grow as a floor leader. at this stage of his career, in his first playoffs past the second round, that isn’t really a put down, either.

    the inexperience of the woeyrs was highlighted early in the first quarter, on a bread and butter pick and roll run by delladova and l-b-j. dellavedova’s screen deflects the bigger mr.barnes away from the play about five feet, and curry hesitates on the switch, like he wants no part of l-b-j, but no help comes from the weak side as barnes tries to scramble back.[switching has been their usual tactic on the perimeter so either curry froze or he expected barnes to surrender less space fighting through the pick]. curry ends up screening barnes. on the other end, Cle loved having barnes for l-b-j’s assignment, and he was able to induce as couple of turnovers to give Cle their assertive start.

    • How can Curry be a successful floor general with Barnes and Bogut on the floor?

      • bogut and barnes have played with curry for considerably more than l-b-j’s guys have had with him, other than jones — the vets who’ve shared other rosters with him are inactive or playing only token minutes. curry has generally deferred to his coaches rather than take full leadership on the court.

  24. I didn’t know that Draymond is playing hurt. Not good. Lee had a great game. But we need Draymond healthy to have a chance.

  25. It’s sad that Kerr does not know who
    his best players are and who should
    start and who should not.

    Hopefully Lee will start the next game.
    Not likely as Kerr seems to like to play
    from behind. He’s a smart player,
    Green is not. He can get to the hoop
    Green cannot. Green should be told
    to concentrate on defense and not take
    many shots. Lee provided the Warriors
    with three extra scoring opportunities
    the same as T. Thompson, in fewer
    minutes just as I predicted. And Green
    also gave the Warriors three extra
    scoring opportunities. But Green should
    not have been brought in at the end of the
    game unless told not to shoot.

    Disappointed that posters can’t see how
    good Lee is especially after witnessing what
    he did a year ago. Evidently out of sight,
    out of mind. But Kerr not knowing what
    his contribution would be more damning.

    Iggy should have at least started the
    second half, but instead played Barnes,
    even though he was awful in the first
    half. Doesn’t seem that Kerr knows this
    is the Finals. Seems like he doesn’t want
    to hurt Barnes feelings. Iggy and
    Lee should start next game unless Kerr
    likes to play from behind.

    Lee should get a lot of Green and
    Barnes shots.

    Although not a fan of Speights he
    may have provided offense when
    we needed it.

    Five baskets from Thompson doesn’t cut
    it.

    Curry a mess on defense. Doesn’t play like
    Della. Needs to. Likes to play off his man.

    Nice seeing that Kerr at least went to early
    offense in the second half.

    If Kerr plays the right players and subs
    correctly the Warriors should easily win
    game 4. But I have no confidence in Kerr
    doing the right thing.

  26. cosmicballoon

    Barnes and Green have completely lost their outside shot. Barnes was the goat of the night. Literally doing nothing positive for the team. During an 0-8 performance including 3 TOs. Where is the playoff Barnes we know and love?

    • if mr.barnes is on the court, it helps l-b-j by giving him someone predictable to defend on one end, and if barnes is the match up on the other side, he’s less a hindrance than green or iguodala. the key for Cle has been its perimeter defenders doing just enough on curry and thompson that l-b-j can pick his spots on defense, help inside and on the boards.
      it should be pretty clear that dellavedova is a tougher and smarter competitor than mr.barnes, as far as the role players. a nice highlight for him when curry grabs him around the hips at the foul line, but dellavedova bulls past into the paint for a three point play.

      • “it should be pretty clear that dellavedova is a tougher and smarter competitor than mr.barnes, ”

        moto, as usual you go on comparing everyone with Barnes, they don’t even play same position and they are two completely different players. Barnes was horrible yesterday and Delladova was much better but their games are not comparable, different role, different skill set. Can you expect Delladova to guard Zach Randolph. Exactly.

  27. No recap tonight. Will try to get a preview up before game 4, but this schedule is as tough on me as it is on the players.

    • Great call on Lee btw. You were the only person I read on the internet that suggested he could be a key factor in this series.

  28. bosshogg413

    Cavs D is def good.. but its nothing the warriors havent seen before. I also watched game 3 a second time. I watched klay miss 5 wide open shots (3 of them threes) barbosa miss 2 easy layups and barnes go 0-8 with 7 of them wide open. I see lebron getting away with murder on his pushoffs before shots while green gets called for breathing too hard.. Delly went 7-17 and made atleast 3 circus shots.. how about lebrons slide tackle on Curry with no call??!? Not making excuses but im tired of hearing about the cavs unbelievable defense.. its definitely good, but if the Dubs just play decent its a 3-0 series right now. Shoulda coulda woulda definitely.. cant wait for game 4!÷

  29. Della shows how in your face
    defense should be played. Adam’s
    obviously doesn’t get that concept.
    Before anyone says Klay Thompson is
    a good defender compare him to
    Della. You can’t.

  30. Can’t understand why Kerr did
    not know that Green would not
    be able to get to the hoop in this
    series. With Kerr not having
    the team rim Green couldn’t
    go coast to coast as he previously
    Has done. In the half-court game,Green
    can only drive in a straight line to the
    hoop as he has not have any other
    move. Did Kerr not think that Mosgov.
    and T. Thompson would not be waiting
    for him?

  31. cosmicballoon

    It has become abundantly clear that the Warriors starting lineup is flawed when Green and Barnes both can’t seem to score. It’s no surprise that the Warriors are floundering in the 80s and 90s when those two players aren’t contributing 10 ppg.

    If your starting lineup looks like this:
    Curry (scorer)
    Thompson (scorer)
    Barnes (non-scorer)
    Green (non-scorer)
    Bogut (scared to shoot)

    You aren’t going to beat any NBA defense. This has been what the Warriors have been trotting out all season, except a health Green became a scoring option, and Barnes was generally making open shots. Right now, Green is injured and scared to shoot the 3, and Barnes simply has gone ice cold. None of his shots are even on line (They are all glancing off the right side of the rim).

    The answer is clearly Lee and Speights, the two players who can open up the court more than any of the other Warriors bigs. Even more time for Barbosa will help, IMO.

    • We saw that all last season and the previous, when both Barnes and Bogut were on the court. They couldn’t score. What we might need to discuss is why the starting lineup has done so well regardless. The reasons are varied, but with this hectoring defense leading to fast breaks and early offense, Curry and Thompson were able to score and find openings for Green and Barnes. And they were able to build huge leads which carried them the rest of the game. Against larger, defensive teams, who can control the pace, they have struggled. There just weren’t many instances of that. Until this series.

      We also saw those seasons how well Lee helped open up the offense and provided a needed third option. The evidence for the same is good this season. There just isn’t much of it. Lee has played few minutes with the starters.

    • Barnes was absolutely horrible yesterday. But, two games before he went 5-10, 4-9 scoring 11 pts in each. On other hand Green has been really bad for sometime now. Anyway, Green is too valuable on D and somehow still adds value to the team and Barnes may shoot better next game or take him out early. Last game he got 19 minutes, next game he should not get more than 12 minutes if he struggles same, not helping with rebound either, not enough to be called on stretch 4 duty.

      I think the whole team will come with more intent next game, let us see.

  32. Meant to add, Feltbot—

    That was great analysis of Dellavedova in your post. I thought his scoring was impressive as well last night. Obviously his percentage wasn’t good, but he kept firing and scored key buckets, including 2 3s. There’s a point here, of course, that has been discussed here extensively.

    We may see him tomorrow night wheeling around an IV. And he’ll do it.

  33. I’m curious if we are going to see any defensive adjustments in game 4. Much has been made about the ineffectiveness of bogut/green/barnes, in the halfcourt, and rightfully so. But, the cavs have shown in the playoffs that they are a great defensive team with good coaching and great strategy. The 1-5 dlee pick and roll is definitely needed and will be discussed futher, but I don’t know if alone, that is the solution to winning this series.

    I have to think defensive adjustments are coming. At some point, are they going to go down with “letting lebron get his” for the whole series? I understand that they have held the cavs to below 100, and low fg %. But they have also let the cavs dictate pace/temp and let the best player in the world get “his” to the tune of 40, 12, and 8. Lebron knows there gameplan and he’s beating it. I think I read somewhere, the warriors haven’t led after any quarter except gm 1 overtime. That’s a bad stat.

    Yes, they have lost by a total combined margin of 7 pts. But, they have lost. I would find it hard to believe that the great Ron Adams is going to give Lebron one look this entire series.

    So, what can you change? Not entirely sure vs Lebron, but here’s a couple suggestions.

    1. Barnes should not guard lebron- pretty obvious, but Lebron knows he can get into a rhythm anytime against this guy. Comparable to terry guarding curry in prior series. You can’t just give Lebron easy buckets/get to the line whenever he wants.

    2. Curry hedge/ double off of delly’s man (possibly shumperts)- I think they should double off of delly more, especially off the hedge. The cavs “pg-draymond” needs a little taste of the “draymond treatment”. Shooting 33% 3pt in the playoffs. He has made questionable decisions with lobs and shot selection. I would rather have delly make critical offensive decisions than lebron. Can the Cavs play 4 on 3 with delly initiating? If draymonds 3 is suffering b/c of battling T-thompson (and back**), why won’t delly’s chasing steph? He was just carried out on a stretcher.

    I would run this more with bogut or ezeli in the game with rim protection. Make delly think between lobs or floaters. This is how you get their turnovers up and tempo up also. Lebron is a willing passer, it tires delly’s energy, and I think it would force the cavs to shoot quicker shots and take the ball out of #23 hands.
    Quicker shots/turnovers–>pace up.

    3. Zone/box-1: otherwise known as the “harden” treatment. This is more difficult with clev’s 3pt shooters. This could be implemented in spots I think. Just to give james some different looks. Probably implement this when James goes into the elbow backdown. I would keep closer tabs to JR (one cav to keep in check), but try to take some gambles off the others.

    Hard to do when you are going against all-time greatness. But, I think the plan has to be to take the ball out of his hands. The cavs have an offensive rhythm, and the warriors need to disrupt this. It’s frustrating when the cavs clearly won’t let steph beat them vs. the dubs letting lebron beat them.

    Mr. Ron Adams. Do you have one trick left up your sleeve?

    • Thanx for this. “The Cavs have an offensive rhythm, and the Warriors need to disrupt this.” That rhythm is generated by LeBron, so yeah, get the ball out of his hands.

      • the desperation rotation with lee keeping speights on the bench, iguodala getting 17 min. more than mr.barnes, ezeli’s minutes on par with bogut’s, not to mention back spasms for d’mond — the coaches showed signs that they’re letting go of what worked for all those record setting wins and scoring differentials and three point shots made.

        mcadoo might actually provide a useful change of pace defensively, but their desperation will need to reach a new level for him to get his initiation.

        • Did not foresee DLee playing significant minutes. To his credit, Kerr said yeah DLee will play some minutes (speaking of game 4).

          I think Boguts knees are done. Draymonds back is a big concern.

          And who knows what’s going on with Mr. Barnes.

          I think the Warriors find a way and win Game 4.

          • According to Curry, Kerr has told the team, before the game that Lee will play and contribute significantly.

  34. If we could graft Boguts hands and head (he has good hoops instincts) onto Ezeli’s body we’d have the ultimate center.

    BossHogg made some good points. LeBrons taking out of Curry at the knees had me off the couch yelling at the tube.
    Blatant foul.

    I’m glad this will all be resolved relatively quickly because I’m nearing my seasonal fill of hoops. Its a toss-up, at this point.

  35. The Warriors have had the
    wrong defensive approach
    By trying to stop James only
    Inside. Marc has it right. The
    Warriors need to get the ball
    out of his hands and try to
    deny him getting the ball
    back. They accomplish that
    By picking him up just after he
    Crosses the half court line
    regardless if he has the ball or
    not. If he does not have the ball
    his defender is on him like glue
    And tries to deny him the ball
    or force him to receive it further
    out that he wants to. Completely
    disrupts the offense whether he
    has the ball or not. Forces him to
    Make longer passes or drive
    toward hoop from further out.
    Other defenders have to also
    extend out on their men
    looking for interceptions.
    Employed this defense in HS
    this year and it led to many
    interceptions. As the losing coach
    saidAfter the game: “They wouldn’t
    let us run our offense.”

    Would change the starting line-up
    so Warriors get off to good start.
    But more concerned that Lee,
    Iggy, sand Speights get significantly
    more minutes then Green, Barnes,
    and Bogut. Ezeli terrible decision
    maker.
    Lee can and will to continue to
    destroy the Cav’s interior defense.
    No substitute for a smart player
    Which the Warriors have few of.
    Iggy also in that category.

  36. By forcing Lebron to start his drives
    from further out, a secondary defender
    should cut Lebron off at foul line.

  37. Trouble in paradise? Make that Sacramento:

    “D’Alessandro’s departure ends a tumultuous tenure in Sacramento. He was hired as general manager of the Kings in June 2013 after working in the Nuggets’ front office. He fired Michael Malone as coach 24 games into his second season despite a strong start, and as Sacramento slid rapidly, owner Vivek Ranadive hired former center Vlade Divac to oversee basketball operations in March.

    “Divac’s arrival took away D’Alessandro position as the department’s top decision-maker. Chris Mullin, a supporter of D’Alessandro who had served as an adviser to Ranadive, left soon after to become coach at St. John’s, his alma mater.”

    I haven’t been keeping up.

    • this makes it appear that d’alessandro’s connection with karl from his Den sojourn was overstated when the coach joined Sac. mullin has left a rather indifferent legacy as an n.b.a. exec, other than the b.davis trade and hiring nelson (leaving his previous hire montgomery with another year or two on his contract, which he had to sue cohan to recoup).

    • My guess is that George Karl sold Vivek on his vision (not hard to do as they already see eye to eye philosophically) and insisted on control of personnel. That would make Vlade a factotum a la Bob Myers.

      Mullin is a known front-office incompetent, and D’Allessandro has done nothing but prove he’s incompetent as well.

      It’s George Karl’s franchise now, and that should prove both entertaining and rewarding. Great move by Vivek.

  38. Curry’s greatness is eyeing
    the hoop before he picks the
    ball up before he shoots. Off
    the dribble going forward and
    shooting 2’s he appears to
    be picking the basket up
    late, and as result, missing his
    shot.

    • the demigod curry has shown symptoms of missing his ‘calm focus’, which true masters of an intense activity can maintain through extreme exertion or pressure. reactions are slower when the adrenaline is high and if that kind of focus is lost. the extreme form of blown responses under high pressure of course is ‘choking’. there were a number of passes he attempted that appeared a half beat (as little as .3 to .5 of a second) late, resulting in a poorer position or angle for the shooter.