With LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers controlling the pace of the series, here’s what the Warriors must do to win Game 4.
By Robby Sabo
At this point, there’s just very little else you can say about the job LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers have done.
Playing without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, this Cavs team more closely resembles a D-League team rather than an NBA Finals squad. Yet, they’re just two-wins away from an unbelievable and unexpected championship.
So, how in the world have they done it?
By design, every possession has become a grind by design for LeBron’s squad. James brings the ball up and they decide to waste the first 15-seconds of the 24-second play clock.
The sheer amount of shots James takes is also intentional. Under normal circumstances he’d never take in access of 30-plus shots a game, but with these guys, it’s necessary. And actually, James shooting well below his normal .500 is okay with David Blatt.
This strategy has caused severe pains for Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
The highest scoring squad in the league at 108.7 per game during the regular season has been completely frustrated due to the slow nature of the Cavs.
It’s become obvious that, yet again, the slower pace in the NBA Playoffs usually has the upper hand. After all, it’s much easier for the grinding team to bring the transition team to a halt, rather than the other way around.
Steve Kerr needs to make drastic changes tonight for Game 4
Must trap LeBron James after half-court
Because LeBron is taking his sweet old time handling the ball at the beginning of every possession, the Warriors must trap him and force his hand.
Get the ball out of LeBron’s hands as soon as he crosses half-court. Force him to give it up and get the Cavs to play at a little faster pace. Even if the ball goes back to LeBron later in the trip, it’ll disrupt the clock management Blatt is after.
Right now, LeBron is almost going one against three when he takes the ball to the hole. He’s relying on spot-up shooters and Timofey Mozgov as a dump-off, or even Tristan Thompson cleaning up the misses.
Golden State must find a way to maximize their shots and force LeBron’s hand in the half-court.
This one isn’t even a strategy discussion.
Even the casual onlooker can see that guys from the Cavs are going all out. They’re hustling, diving, and acting like the want that Larry O’Brien trophy more.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 10, 2015
Meanwhile, Curry, Klay Thompson and the Warriors are trotting around with their California attitude.
The intensity level needs to be ratcheted up in a major way.
Have you watched what Golden State is doing on offense?
Anytime they go pick-n-roll (which is often), they intentionally leave LeBron out of the mix. In no, way, shape or form do they want James near Curry. Then, when it happens on that slim chance, Curry doesn’t even look at LeBron. He stops his iso-game and passes off.
The MVP of the league needs to challenge even the best at times. He needs to pick up the swagger and get that confidence back.
This means shooting with that quick release we’ve seen from him all season long, and even challenging LeBron off the occasional pick-n-roll when things break down.
Game 4 is set to tip off at 9 pm ET and can be seen on ABC.
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