Tag: Cleveland Cavaliers

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

LeBron James commits eight-second violation against minimal pressure (video)


Maybe it was fatigue. Maybe it was playing the unfamiliar position of point center. Maybe it was an aberration.

Whatever the reason, LeBron James pulled a Rajon Rondo with this eight-second violation.

Credit Klay Thompson a little for applying pressure in the backcourt, but this one is most on LeBron.

David Blatt gets grilled about barely playing Timofey Mozgov (video)

David Blatt

After a career game in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Timofey Mozgov played just nine minutes in Game 5.

More than a couple reporters wanted to know why.

So, they asked and asked and asked Cavaliers coach David Blatt to explain his decision.

These are mostly fair questions, but here’s what I think Blatt wanted to say:

If Mozgov played more, Cleveland probably would have lost. If Mozgov played less, Cleveland probably would have lost.

The Cavaliers are probably going to lose. They’re short-handed, and the Warriors are the better team. It’s impressive Cleveland won two of the first four games, but this was never a series between evenly matched teams.

No matter what adjustments Blatt makes, they’ll probably fail to produce a victory. So, perhaps a win-loss result is not the best way to judge him.

J.R. Smith one flagrant foul from suspension

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith got suspended for his first flagrant foul of the playoffs, a flagrant-2 against the Celtics for taking a shot to Jae Crowder’s head.

Smith picked up a second flagrant foul in Game 5 of the NBA Finals for trying to run through Draymond Green. This time it was just a flagrant-1, but that still gives him four flagrant points (at least unless the league rescinds last night’s).

Another flagrant-1 would trigger a one-game suspension. A flagrant-2 would trigger a two-game suspension.

Smith would serve it in his next healthy game, whether that’s Game 7 or the start of next season.

Relive Stephen Curry’s 37-point night (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry

OAKLAND — Stephen Curry was reportedly a little ticked off at all the attention Matthew Dellavedova was getting, with some people calling him a Curry stopper.

There is no Curry stopper.

Curry hit 7-of-13 from three on his way to 37 points in Game 5, leading Golden State to a huge win that has them one game away from an NBA title. He was doing it attacking the basket and knocking down threes. Curry looked like the MVP — and maybe the Finals MVP.

“I thought he was great,” LeBron James said of Curry. “You tip your hat off to a guy like that.  He made seven threes.  I don’t know, were any of them not contested, hand in his face, falling, stepback off the dribble?  I’m okay with that.  We’re okay with that.  I mean, you tip your hat to a guy who makes shots like that, and he’s the guy that can do it in our league.  He’s the best shooter in our league.”

David Blatt’s gambit going small didn’t work, but was only call he could make

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

OAKLAND — There comes a point in every NBA playoff series — particularly a Finals series — where a coach realizes that he is about to lose, that what has worked to get them there is no longer good enough. When that happens, you see desperation moves. Heck, in 2008 Phil Jackson tried to roll out Chris Mihm against the Celtics front line because he needed a desperation move.

Cavaliers coach David Blatt reached that point early in Game 5. The Warriors had gone small in Game 4, subbing Andre Iguodala in for Andrew Bogut. It worked.

Blatt had tried to counter by staying big with Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson in at the same time, and Mozgov had 28 points in Game 4. And the Cavaliers lost by 21.

To open Game 5 the Warriors missed a couple threes and had a couple turnovers, but then really started to expose Mozgov — Golden State hit four of their next five. There was Stephen Curry with a layup, Draymond Green with a dunk in transition, followed by Green with another dunk — Green and the Warriors were  exposing Mozgov’s inability to get out on the perimeter and still protect the rim, plus the fact Mozgov is not fast in transition. Golden State was getting the shots it wanted and early on was starting to pull away (already up 8-2). They had solved the Cavaliers. This game was going to get ugly.

Blatt knew it. So he made a desperate move and decided to match the Warriors small lineup. Out came Mozgov and in came J.R. Smith.

After the game Blatt took a lot of criticism for going small, including a number of questions about why he went away from his big man and trying to pound the Warriors inside as they had Game 4. Blatt responded by noting they lost the lost Game 4 by more than this one. Game 5 was a one-point game with just more than five minutes left, which is a lot closer than Game 4.

“I thought (going small) was our best chance to win the game, and we were definitely in the game with a chance to win,” Blatt said.  So that’s the way we played it.”

The Warriors beat the Cavaliers to some offensive rebounds late in Game 4, and there were no solid second scorers behind LeBron James in Game 4 like Mozgov in Game 4. On the surface you can make the staying big argument, but it misses the real picture.

The reality for Blatt was obvious and simple:

If he stayed with the big lineup, he was going to get blown out. Again.

Going small played to Golden State’s strengths, but it worked a lot better than staying big did or would have.

The problem for Blatt and the Cavaliers is it doesn’t matter what style he plays — the Warriors are the better, deeper team. The Warriors have more pieces on the chess board and can adjust. The Cavaliers made some nice adjustments in this game to get J.R. Smith open off some pindown actions, and he hit his first three from beyond the arc. Then the Warriors adjusted how they defended the action (switching more) and that play went away, it didn’t work. The Warriors have the depth, the personnel to counter anything the Cavaliers try.

Blatt was getting beat playing big. So, he took a gamble playing small. It didn’t work out.

But he had to try something. The status quo was his team getting blown out again.