- PG: Stephen Curry
- SG: Klay Thompson
- SF: Harrison Barnes
- PF: Draymond Green
- C: Andrew Bogut
Game 4 Pick & Preview of 2016 NBA Finals: Warriors vs Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers did not waver in the face of adversity on Wednesday night, as they stormed out to a 9-0 lead in game three and never looked back. The Cavs’ got their swagger back on their home floor, where they remained undefeated during these NBA playoffs by drubbing the Warriors by 30 points in a 120-90 blowout win.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were virtually absent for the third straight game and Draymond Green regressed in this one, as well, as the Warriors simply didn’t have it. Much of the win goes to Cleveland, of course, who made sharp adjustments and tightened things up defensively to both score easily on Golden State and prevent them from making a game of it late.
LeBron James seemed to find his mojo during a 32-point performance, while Richard Jefferson stepped up with big man Kevin Love sitting out with concussion symptoms. The major spark came from star point guard Kyrie Irving, however, who poured in 16 points in the first quarter alone.
Irving proved he could be the catalyst to a turnaround for the Cavs, who may have displayed a strategy that could still help them win these Finals. Game four comes on Friday, however, handin the Cavs another must-win game at Quicken Loans Arena.
Golden State Warriors Team Preview
The biggest change from games one and two to Wednesday night was the scenery. The Warriors still weren’t getting great play out of their two best players, while the Cavs got a jolt of confidence being on their home floor. They also were more athletic and cohesive on defense with Kevin Love sidelined, and specifically having LeBron James at the four spot often helped that.
Golden State is going to have to find a way to combat that, as their defensive switches didn’t work as well this time around and when Cleveland switched on the other side, Curry didn’t have easy looks when he ran into more athletic defenders in James and Richard Jefferson.
Defensive effort and mere execution changed hands in game three, as the Warriors were pitiful from the floor, shooting just 42% and a pathetic 26% from deep. Their vaunted defense shrunk in this one, as they at times just could not stop contested shots from going in and other times it looked as if the Cavs could do as they pleased. Turnovers played into that, as Curry has six of Golden State’s 18.
Overall, the Warriors just weren’t good enough on defense, allowing Cleveland to connect on 12 three’s (48% from deep) and shoot 52% from the field. Head coach Steve Kerr said his team didn’t look ready and on top of that seemed “soft” and that really isn’t overly shocking given their struggles on the road during these playoffs. Golden State had already lost four games on the road during their run to the Finals, and given how good the Cavs have been at Quicken Loans Arena, it made sense that they might come out and struggle a bit.
That being said, the Warriors are better than what they offered in game three. The Splash Brothers have just been running extremely cold and the Dubs got away with it in the first two games thanks to elite defense, a home court edge and insane help from their bench. They still can defend and the bench will still help, but they’re not going to want to merely switch wins and losses on the road and at home to round out this series. That would equate to a game seven at Oracle Arena, and in a roll of the dice game like that, they could easily end up losing to a Cavaliers team that is still chasing their first ever title.
Needless to say, game four offers the Dubs a chance to make a statement and they need big games out of both Curry and Thompson. The Cavs responded in that fashion with both James and Irving producing 30+ point gems and the defending champs must respond with a jab of their own.
|6/8/16||at Cavaliers||Lost 120-90|
|6/5/16||VS Cavaliers||Win 110-77|
|6/2/16||VS Cavaliers||Win 104-89|
|5/30/16||VS Thunder||Win 98-88|
|5/28/16||at Thunder||Win 108-101|
Cleveland Cavaliers Team Preview
The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Warriors for the first time in their last seven tries, which had to feel pretty good, considering they did it in front of their home crowd and in just convincing fashion.
The Cavs are clearly at their best at home, and they now know that if they can play like this, they not only can protect their home base in two more meetings at Quicken Loans Arena, but they can also force a game seven and possibly still steal this thing.
LeBron James played more in control and was quite emphatic when in position to make crowd-pleasing plays, which naturally lifted his team and kept Cleveland’s foot on the gas. That’s precisely what the Cavs need to find a way to do in game four, as a 2-2 tie would get them back in this for real, but a 3-1 hole would very likely spell the end of their Finals run.
One huge question Cleveland will need to address is what Kevin Love’s role will be going forward. The team has been in trouble the most when he’s had issues, as they lost twice in Toronto when he came up short and they lost the first two games of this series with Love not exactly bringing his best ball to the table.
- PG: Kyrie Irving
- SG: J.R. Smith
- SF: Richard Jefferson
- PF: LeBron James
- C: Tristan Thompson
Is it a coincidence that the team won by 30 in game three with him out with an injury? If the Cavs think not, they’ll need to take a stand and either bump him from the rotation or at least use him as a spark in a more limited role off the bench.
One reason why is because LeBron James as a power forward seemed to give the Warriors serious issues in game three, and in a sense could be the move that gives them their best chance to make a series of it.
Keeping James at the four could be big, but the true key to Cleveland’s success is playing with confidence and gunning from long range. Kyrie Irving looked far more aggressive in game three and his stellar ISO offense parlayed into excellent offense for the entire team. He got the Dubs on the rails early, and the rest of the team seemed to simply follow suit. Another huge difference was J.R. Smith actually taking shots and converting (5-10) from long range.
With all of Cleveland’s top players actually being aggressive and finding success, the Cavs looked unstoppable in game three. The trick will be getting them all to continue to click at the same time and prevent any Golden State adjustments from disrupting their new found success.
|6/8/16||VS Warriors||Win 120-90|
|6/5/16||at Warriors||Lost 110-77|
|6/2/16||at Warriors||Lost 104-89|
|5/27/16||at Raptors||Win 113-87|
|5/25/16||VS Raptors||Win 116-78|
Warriors at Cavaliers Game 4 Preview
This game was about depth in the first two games and game three showed us it may also just be about straight up confidence. The Cavs got their swagger back and that could be a dangerous thing, as they do have some great players and could be a real threat yet if they decide they think they can go on a serious run.
The home court edge is alive and well, as a road team has yet to win in this series and we’ve seen both teams have some struggles away from home and excel on their own court.
|6/8/16||Cavaliers 120, Warriors 90|
|6/5/16||Warriors 110, Cavaliers 77|
|6/2/16||Warriors 104, Cavaliers 89|
|1/18/16||Warriors 132, Cavaliers 98|
|12/25-15||Warriors 89, Cavaliers 83|
|6/16/15||Warriors 105, Cavaliers 97|
|6/14/15||Warriors 104, Cavaliers 91|
|6/11/15||Warriors 103, Cavaliers 82|
|6/9/15||Cavaliers 96, Warriors 91|
|6/7/15||Cavaliers 95, Warriors 93 (OT)|
|6/4/15||Warriors 108, Cavaliers 100 (OT)|
Of course, the key to this series may still end up being the play of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry – neither of which have scored even 20 points in a game yet in this series. Cleveland’s defense is largely thanks to that – especially in game three – but an argument can be made that the Warriors also didn’t really need either of them in the first two games.
The Cavs showed in game three that they either had one last gasp to prevent a sweep or that they’re here to stay if the Dubs don’t do something about it. The win was convincing and James at the four could be trouble – especially if the Cavs wisely use Kevin Love off the bench. That’s going to point to much-needed big performances out of The Splash Brothers, who absolutely will need to show up in unison at some point if they are to fend off the Cavaliers.
For game four, it’s going to be tough again to march into Quicken Loans Arena, especially with the Cavs knowing a 2-2 tie swings the momentum completely back in their favor.
Recommended Game 4 Bet
The Warriors came out flat in game three and while that probably won’t happen again in game four, it’s tough to forget how they played in their previous series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They got completely trounced in games three and four in that series, and were suddenly looking at a 3-1 hole.
The Dubs overcame that and may see the writing on the wall here and do all they can to avoid giving any power back to the Cavs, but they also may not have a choice. Cleveland’s defense and offensive confidence is off the charts at home this year and judging by game three, it’s possible there’s not a whole lot the Warriors can do about it. Golden State is absolutely good enough to come in and take the Cavs down, but Cleveland has yet to lose at Quicken Loans Arena in these playoffs and this would be a funny spot to lose their first game. The Warriors are still the favorites to win this series, but Cleveland has a good shot to stand their ground at home and make this thing very interesting.
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