G&G’s Aaron Gillette and Peter Gumas offer their reactions to Game 4 of the NBA Finals and look ahead to Game 5 set for Sunday night in Oakland.
Reaction to Game 4:
Gillette: After the initial 7-0 run, the Warriors finally came to play. For the first time this series the game was not controlled by Cleveland, and the Warriors were able to make Cleveland look uncomfortable on offense. They got out in transition, doubled LeBron to make him become passive in the halfcourt, and forced Dellavedova, Shumpert and Smith to win this game. And it was a blowout.
Gumas: You could tell it was going to be a long night for Cleveland pretty early in this one. Their shooters continued to miss open and contested shots, and Delly looked hobbled for at least part of the game. The final score may have been 20 but if was closer for most of the game thanks to Cleveland’s big run in the third quarter. But 4/27 from 3 isn’t going to get it done for Cleveland. Golden State’s strategy of making a more concerted effort to try and slow down LeBron worked, and for the first time he was not able to do whatever he wanted.
Best Player from Game 4:
Gillette: Iguodala. Right now if Golden State wins this series, he’d be my MVP. He has played great, unselfish basketball through all 4 games, the only player that can be said of this series for Golden State. Curry played his best game of the series, and still only scored 22 on 8-17 from the field. But with the series even at 2-2, if Steph has one of his 30+ lights out games, this could get ugly for Cleveland.
Gumas: Iguodala. Pretty simple, without Iguodala, this may have been a sweep. I used to say it when I was ripping on him when he played for my Sixers, as a #1 option he is horrible, if he found a team where he could be a 3rd, 4th, or 5th option, he would be a stud. That’s exactly what he’s doing. Now having said that, if I’m Cleveland, I keep letting Iguodala shoot, I don’t think he’s capable of hitting all those outside shots again.
Biggest Surprise from Game 4:
Gillette: LeBron’s passiveness in the 1st half. When Golden State got on a bit of a run, LeBron stood in the corner and let Dellavedova run the offense instead of taking charge like he had Games 1-3. Game 4 was the first game where LeBron didn’t appear to have the Jordan-esque killer instinct for all 48 minutes.
Gumas: Timofey Mozgov’s huge game. It seemed like when Cleveland realized Golden State would be playing tougher on LeBron, they kept feeding Mozgov. Sure he scored 28 points, but the ball needs to be in the King’s hands, not Mozgov’s.
How the Cavs Should Feel:
Gillette: Woken up. Games 2 and 3 were like a dream come true, as they completely dictated the pace and style of game, forcing Golden State to look like a shadow of themselves. But Game 4 was a reminder that they’re up against the best team in the league, and they can’t let their guard down, even for a few minutes. But after 4 games, they know how to beat this Warriors team and will come back focused and ready to go for Game 5.
Gumas: Confident. It’s 2-2 and they shot so bad I don’t think it could physically get any worse. Delly was letting Curry blow by him on a number of plays as it looked like his cramps were catching up with him. With the extra day of rest, I think that this team that is down to a seven man rotation should be fine for game 5.
How the Warriors Should Feel:
Gillette: In control. After an awful first three games, they found their stride at the right time, and head home with a ton of momentum. They proved to everyone jumping off the bandwagon, and more importantly themselves, why they are the favorites, and you know the O will be rocking to welcome them back on Sunday night.
Gumas: Confident. Yeah, I went there, both teams should feel confident. Golden State started to find their groove a little bit on both sides of the ball. They haven’t even gotten Klay and Curry going in the same game and the series is tied 2-2. Iguodala is playing the best basketball of his life, Draymond and Harrison Barnes decided to turn their series around, all of which bodes well for Golden State. They are still the all round better team.
Game 5 Adjustments:
Gillette: The Cavaliers need to get back to putting the ball in LeBron’s hands, and getting their best shooters in the right spots when the defense collapses. They can’t keep having Dellavedova being the kick-out option, it needs to be Smith and Shumpert who, by the way, have to find a way to make an impact on this series. Golden State should build upon what they did so well in Game 4: keep pushing the tempo and stealing easy buckets in transition while frustrating LeBron with tough nosed defense and double teams.
Gumas: Yeah, I thought Lebron needs the ball more, but if his teammates were hitting their shots we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. 4-27 is horrible from 3. JR and Shump were a combined 1-13. Those guys HAVE to step up regardless of what LeBron is doing. The Cavs were fine on defense, they let Iguodala beat them which any team playing Golden State will happily accept. They also will have fresher legs coming into game 5. Golden State should keep throwing extra defenders at LeBron like they did. Make things as difficult as you can and make someone else beat you.