Saturday, June 11, 2016

Warriors - Cavaliers Game Four: Trump Sucks, Indeed

At Least He's Not Fat
Golden State went up 3-1 in the NBA Finals tonight in the only game of the series, so far, that actually had things like lead changes and momentum swings and big plays. Well, kind of. Golden State wins by 11, and here's my thoughts about it.

> All night long, Warriors coach Steve Kerr got quality contributions from deep benchies, especially big men Anderson Vareajo on offensive rebounds, and James McAdoo with screens. In the fourth quarter, a fresh Shaun Livingston was converting on an increasingly gassed Kyrie Irving, leading to a stretch run where the Warrior starters were fresh as a daisy on recovery defense, and the Cavs were incapable of making threes on dead legs. Coaching matters in the NBA, and you'll never see a bigger discrepancy in coaching in a Finals game than you'll see in tonight's game.

> Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry finally got it going tonight, with the guards routinely trading 3s for 2s in the second half. By going 18 for 39, they also opened up the floor for back-breaking offensive rebounds and quality looks at the rim. It's not just that they make 3s; it's that they make 3s so often, the game just gets warped. They made more 3s than 2s tonight, something that's never happened in the Finals before, and yeah, they've broken the game. No wonder the old-timers hate them so much.

> Just because people will say this, no, Curry's still not himself physically, and likely won't be until November. He's smart enough to play great as Old Man Curry from time to time, but he needs screens and defensive lapses to get his points now, and he's still turnover-prone.

> I have no idea who your series MVP candidate is at this point. Maybe Kerr. But in all seriousness, it's a hard question. Green's turned into the NBA's Most Hated Player in this post-season, Curry and Thompson only finally showed up tonight, and no Warrior really stood out in the first two games. I can't imagine it's given to Andre Iguodala again, but he's been the team's best player. Hell, maybe its even Harrison Barnes. That would at least help break up this juggernaut, since he's a free agent after the year is over.

> The officiating tonight was just deplorable. Missed possessions, inconsistent calls on contact, blown non-calls leading to technical fouls and make-up calls... just as bad as it gets. It didn't result in a different outcome, but I would not trust Danny Crawford's crew to run a lunch truck, let alone a pivotal NBA Finals game.

> It seems knee-jerk and sacrilegious to say this, and I wouldn't put it past the guy to just call back a game from the ages and force a Game Six... but at 31 (and it's a very old 31 -- remember, no college and this is his 7th trip to the Finals, which means he's logged over 47,000 minutes already, with 21% of those minutes coming in the playoffs), LeBron James really seems like he might be entering a decline phase of his career. In tonight's game, he was unwilling to shoot from distance even when he made them. In the lane, he was pass-first, either because he was gassed or didn't see the refs bailing him out. Maybe it's just that his coach left him out there to die, but it's hard to give him credit for that when, well, he pretty much hand-picks his coach and roster. (Allegedly.)

> Kyrie Irving played a pretty good game tonight, but his man outscored him while also doing other things, and he wasn't able to keep it going in the fourth. He was the best player on the floor for his team tonight, and the only reason why they had a puncher's shot late, but he really doesn't know the difference between good and bad shots, and he's hopeless on switches. There's tons of talent here, but I'm not sure if growing up on losing teams really didn't help him.

> In re the tie-up between James and Draymond Green with the possibility that Green got James in the jewels and James stepped over Green like he was his coach in the Iverson Moment 15 years ago... well, that's what people who don't like basketball will care about. So long as it doesn't actually impact Game (aka, the NBA doesn't use it to suspend Green and try to prolong the series just to get additional games of commercials), I don't give a fig. This isn't exactly the heroin hoop of the late GSW-OKC series, but it's all the hoop we've got.

> I don't know why people come to games with plans to make it all about them, the way our message protester did, but kudos to security for not letting it take up too much time. If I lived in Cleveland.... well, I'd move. But I'd really not be thrilled with having the GOP convention in town soon. There's a storm coming.











I seriously doubt this goes beyond five, but maybe James surprises us. See you on Monday.

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