This game followed the Game 4 script enough that I’m not going to give a full recap. Here are my bullet points:
— Brilliant counter by Blatt to pull Mozgov and go small, but the Cavs just don’t have enough bodies to sustain it. And wasn’t it a brilliant move by Kerr to force this adjustment? The Warriors can afford to take players off the board. The short-handed Cavs cannot.
— For my money, LeBron is the greatest player of all time. Do you realize that everyone he’s currently playing with is a bench player? What LeBron is doing is incredible.
— I don’t buy the narrative I heard after the game, that the Warriors’ smallball team is better than the Cavs’. What if the Cavs had just one more playable bench guard? The Warriors smallball team is DEEPER than the Cavs, that is the trumping factor in this series. That is what is allowing the Warriors to separate themselves in fourth quarters and overtimes, while the Cavs control play for the first three quarters.
We won’t get into a discussion of who would have the better smallball team if the Cavs had Kyrie and Love. That’s a question for future years.
— The Cavs blitzed Curry harder than they ever have — there were very few simple switches in this game. And for most of the game Curry really struggled getting the pass off. (A symptom of how little the Warriors ran high pick and roll, and played against blitzes, this season?)
But the Cavs ran out of gas in the 4th, Curry got iso’d, and the MVP made an appearance.
— David Lee was awful. I saw him give up an easy rebound early because he simply couldn’t get off the floor. He again couldn’t find the basket on his layup attempts. And I thought I saw him pull up lame after his last miss, which made me wonder if he’s not all there physically, or if he tweaked something. He was pulled immediately after. And when Festus was brought in against Mozgov in the 4th Q, that didn’t reassure me.
— By the way, if Bogut is truly healthy, why no minutes? Why Festus? Kerr is clearly fibbing again. As he should.
— Barnes was awful early, and lost minutes to Livingston. In the 4th quarter though, he redeemed himself with several key boards and tips.
— Blatt has one final adjustment to make, which I view as key: in the 4th Q, he has to defend the Curry ISOs with his best defender: Shumpert. Which means LeBron on Klay, Delly on Barnes.
Will he do it? Will the Cavs have enough gas left in the tank to do it?
Another short turnaround. The Warriors will be favored to close this out in six.