New Ball vs. Old Ball: Warriors Go 3-1 on the Cavs
By Dennis Loo (6/11/16)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are taking a lot of heat for their third and fourth quarter woes in last night's Game Four of the NBA Finals against the Warriors, but it's not really their fault.
When you're tired - which is what the Warriors will do to you - you make mistakes, lose focus, and revert to old habits.
Unless you come out more aggressive than the defending NBA Champions and establish a big lead on them, and the Warriors in turn have their worst game of the season (see Game 3), you can't beat the math of 3-pointers vs. 2-pointers. The Warriors' ability to switch on just about everybody in defense and their Game 4 aggressiveness, relentless ball movement, and spreading the floor with made threes from multiple players (Curry, Thompson, Green, Iguodala, Barnes, even Speights in some games), and the spark that Varejao has consistently given them off the bench, along with Shaun Livingstone providing point duties and reliable twos, cannot be beat unless you have the best game of your season (see Game 3) and the Warriors are far off their best.
This is the New Ball v. the Old Ball. And yes, the Warriors have the personnel to make their game plan work, but the system they're operating on is the new model. Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving for the Cavs had as good a game as you can hope for last night, with Thompson a monster on the boards and both he and Irving hitting shots (even a difficult falling away three from the corner from Thompson), but these sterling performances are only good against a conventional opponent.
There is a reason why the Splash Brothers far exceeded the made and attempted threes this season, why in the OKC series Klay Thomspon set the single game made three record and last night the Warriors set the record of made threes for a team in the Finals. This is an integral part of their game and I'm sorry for the Cavs with all of their great talent that they're being beaten so thoroughly. But as I said several days ago, the Warriors are setting a new model for basketball, and the other teams will have to emulate it to compete.