CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers looked worn down and tired. LeBron James stopped taking the ball all the way to the rim, Matthew Dellavedova looked flat footed trying to guard Stephen Curry, and coach David Blatt admited as much after the Cavaliers dropped Game 4 to even the series.
“Tonight was the third game in five days, including the trip back from the West Coast, and it seemed to have an impact on us, yes,” Blatt said when asked if fatigue was a factor.
Blatt has stuck with a seven-man rotation for the most part since Kyrie Irving was injured, but the short bench and the energy expended to guard the Warriors in the Finals is wearing down the Cavaliers.
Which has led rumors Blatt may finally reach deeper into his bench, tapping veterans like Shawn Marrion and Mike Miller, among others, for bigger roles. From Brian Windhorst at ESPN.
With several players, James and Dellavedova especially, looking worn down from the demands in the playoffs, players have begun to privately grumble that Blatt needs to use his whole roster.
With Warriors coach Steve Kerr going to a perimeter-heavy offense with Andre Iguodala in for Andrew Bogut, the feel is Blatt could take another look at Miller and perhaps give veteran Shawn Marion, who has yet to play in the series, a look. With the Warriors’ depth on the wing, the Cavs ended up being stretched exceedingly thin.
Several sources said Marion, who already has announced he’ll retire following the season, is especially itching to get a chance. He’s recently been bothered by a calf injury and also dealt with a hip injury in the regular season but is healthy and able to go.
Blatt has been sitting those guys for a reason, but these may be the desperate times where he leans on those veterans hoping for at least 10 good minutes. Miller has performed on big stages before, Marion can still make plays. They don’t need to dominate, just hold down the fort.
Ideally, those would be minutes LeBron could rest. In Game 4 the Cavaliers had trimmed a double-digit Warriors’ lead to three but when LeBron went to the bench for just a couple minutes of rest, the lead quickly ballooned back up to 10. The Cavaliers could never really close the gap again.
The Cavaliers catch a break with a couple days off between games 4 and 5 (and between 6 and 7 if it goes that far). They are banking on some rest and just better shooting to pull them back up in Game 5.
But a little help from the veterans down the bench would be a big boost, too.