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It Just Might Be Possible That Cleveland Extends The NBA Finals
Photo courtesy of Fox 8

It Just Might Be Possible That Cleveland Extends The NBA Finals

Raphael Haynes
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Game 4 Review

Game 4 once again displayed a frantic pace but more of a controlled pace for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors seemed like they weren’t comfortable with the pace of the game. At times, they faltered in the half court set never getting into rhythm. Cleveland on the other hand didn’t rush yet they didn’t let the foot off the pedal as well. They shot lights out and pretty much played nearly perfect basketball. Contrary to your belief, this might be the only way to beat the Warriors or is it?

 

Keys To The Game

Cleveland proved that if they get the Warriors to play in a half court setting, they can make them uncomfortable. In order to do that in Game 5, instead of having the guards or the players get back in position on defense after a miss or make, the Cavs should pressure the ball handler up court to stop momentum. This also forces them to have to rush in their sets because precious time has been taken off the shot clock. Kevin Durant has been the best player for the Warriors but Stephen Curry is what gets the entire team going. His energy is infectious and the crowd and teammates go up to a higher notch. Stop Curry and the team’s morale isn’t the same.

Offensively, it’s well known that your superstars lead while on the road and is more dependent up on. The problem is LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are getting gassed because of the heavy minutes especially when Golden State pushes the tempo. Shooting 3-pointers is important but attempting high percentage shots and rhythm shots are key. Klay Thompson is the only player defensively that has a chance of keeping his man out the paint (Draymond Green is on Tristian Thompson most of the time who is obsolete). If Cleveland gets them on their hills by creating foul trouble, it allows them to make that extra pass to get a good look for a better shot for the reserves to get going.

Photo courtesy of SB Nation

In Golden State’s case, they haven’t seen a team be more aggressive and patient in the playoffs. The Warriors defense is known for being tough and stable but last game gave them problems. Based on the Warriors not being accustom to playing against multiple players on one team that has the capability to create their own shot at anytime, they have to get back to what got them to a 3-0 lead. Everyone collapse the middle and forced the 3-point attempt. This starts the break after a long miss and starts instant offense.

On the offensive end, it’s critical that they dictate the pace. Their best offensive is their best defense. Run, Run, Run. Curry and company have to be more aggressive going to the basket. Cleveland’s only shot blocker is James. Instead of trying to get an open look while handling the ball, if they drive to the basket and see James lurking to help, then the kick-out pass will create an open 3-pointer.

 

X-Factor

The X-factor for the Cavaliers is Channing Frye. Frye has had limited minutes during the last three games but he still usually comes in and gets his normal minutes in the first half. Frye has to be aggressive and be ready to fire from long distance. Not only will it give him more minutes to play but it creates the pump-fake and drive, it gives Cleveland another scorer and with him in late in the game which more than likely forces Curry to be on him and it should create post opportunities for him.

The X-Factor for the Warriors is Andre Iguadala. “Iggy”, as they call him has been quiet for most of the series. The 2015 Finals MVP is the energy ignitor for the bench. It usually takes a dunk to get him going. He’s probably the only defender that can disrupt James and make it difficult for him. In saying that, he has to be a pest by reaching, grabbing (without getting caught) and being physical. If he can make James work for his stats, then that’s a plus for Golden State.

Prediction: Golden State has been lights out at home and it shouldn’t be anything different but Cleveland’s confidence is high and the Warriors might feel a little pressure due to being in this position last year.  Cleveland 109-103.

 

 

About Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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