Calo on the Cavs: Wrecking Ball

Miles!   That is the difference between LBJ and the rest of the world….NBA players look ordinary against him. When you have a game changer like Lebron controlling everything you have a chance against anybody.  He started the game aggressively with 10 shots attempts in the first quarter continuously getting into the paint and putting pressure on the Warriors D from the outset. In short he was a wrecking ball of power and force that played with a controlled tempo and overall game awareness of Magic Johnson in his heyday.  This day was another ridiculous set of numbers put up by the world’s best player finishing with 40 points 12 rebounds and 8 assists with 4 steals and 2 blocks – but that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The fact LBJ is playing point guard and has the ball in his hands all game long means that his team is for the most part going to get a shot up every possession and in most cases a good shot. 

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Dion Waiters  Anderson Varejeo and Lebron – Game 1 starters  for the Cavs at the beginning of the season. Fast Forward to the NBA Finals and it’s only Lebron that is still playing and he has been unimaginable as a leader bringing this group of players to the cusp of an NBA Championship.  People in the national media continue to say the Warriors are going to win this series if they just do this or that and Curry or Thompson can do this or that…. Stop it already!  The best player in the world is on the other team and they are playing better defensively than anybody and have suffocated the Warriors O and have dominated the majority of time in this series.

This is a different look Cavs team from the one that started the season.

This is a different look Cavs team from the one that started the season.

Steve Kerr did a good job of running Steph Curry off screens both with and off the ball and got him free to hoist 20 shots including 13 threes.  It was needed as Matthew Dellavedova continues to be in his shirt all over the court every second he is on the floor.  It was a good changeup and in the 4th Steph got hot and brought the Warriors back into the game after trailing by as much as 20 points in the 3rd.  Klay Thompson came back to normal in game 3 after a scintillating performance in game 2 and had only 14 points while being hounded by Iman Shumpert all game long.  The 3 point shot is a great weapon and the Warriors shot it well yesterday hitting 12 of 34 and also had 18 offensive rebounds en route to winning the rebounding battle but still managed to have only 55 points going into the 4th quarter!  You can’t win when you can’t score near the hoop against a Lebron led team.  The Warriors had more rebounds, made more 3’s, had less turnovers and still couldn’t win this game.  Reason why is because of Lebron and his ability to hit shooters for open looks and create offense on his own on every possession for the Cavs.  He shot as many free throws as the Warriors did total (12) because he was playing the game in the paint.

 – Side Note – Check out this sick video from my boy George Vlosich III below. He was on my high school basketball team and is now doing great things! Check out his website here: GVARTWORK.COM

 

I think it’s about time David Blatt get a bit of credit for the game plan and the subtle changes on O like running side pick and roll with Delly screening to put Steph Curry on Lebron. He has been like a maestro orchestrating a symphony with the way his team has controlled the tempo of the game and given them a fighting chance to win a series everyone outside of their locker room and the state of Ohio believed was impossible. He has pushed all the right buttons throughout the series and really this series should be 3-0 Cleveland with a close out game tomorrow night.

JR Smith was the excellent version of himself last night and it was absolutely necessary as Iman Shumpert was injured early and was out of action for a while being treated.  He scored 10 points and was good on D.  James Jones hit a number of big shots including a 4 point play in the first quarter and a dagger three at the end of the first half to score 7 points in 10 minutes of action.  Tristan and big Timo were very effective inside as TT had 13 boards and big Timo had 4 blocks and changed a lot of shots at the back of the Cavs tight D. Delly had another impressive outing going toe to toe with the MVP scoring 20 points with 5 boards 4 assists and a couple of major league clutch plays down the stretch of the game including a 3 point play, an alley-oop pass to Lebron that had the Cleveland faithful almost blow the roof off of the Q and a number of clutch hustle plays getting to loose balls first as he so often does.

I admit it... it got a little TOO close in the 4th!

I admit it… it got a little TOO close in the 4th!

For the Warriors Steph, Klay Thompson and Andre Igoudala played well but Draymond Green was off again and his lack of production has really hurt them.  Steph turned in a 4th quarter that was amazing and really scared the entire state of Ohio scoring 17 points and bringing the Warriors to within 1 late in the game.  But that’s when Delly made a game changing 3 point play and Lebron stuck a dagger right into the hearts of all Warrior fans from 3 to give the Cavs breathing room.

Cleveland wins 96-91 and Game 4 Thursday night has everyone asking what the Warriors can do to change the pace of the game and speed the Cavs up.  How can they get Steph and Klay free for some better looks and more important than that how can they make Lebron less effective at controlling the game in his do everything point guard role.

Its’s going to be interesting but my guess is we see an all time performance from Lebron on Thursday and he shoots with the efficiency that we saw in Miami and scores over 40 points. The Cavs will play with the same level of D and the intensity of Delly and they win Game 4 to go back to Oakland up 3-1.

 


About

Niall is the Co-Founder of the Courtside Collective and www.BasketballDirect.com . He was one of the founding members of North Star in 2002. He has coached at a variety of levels from kids to senior men's teams. He is currently coach of the LYIT National League team and women's college team.

Leave Comment