Small Ball for it All

by Yusuf Gadlin

The Golden State Warriors obliterated the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-85 in game four of the NBA Finals. The Warriors played with heart, hunger, and passion which had been missing in the three games prior. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr made a chess like adjustment  and incorporated super sub Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup. The change paid off immensely as Iguodala was the player of this game. Iguodala had 22 points and 8 rebounds but it was his veteran “know how” that truly paid dividends.

It was the first time Iggy started a game all year for the Golden State Warriors and man did he have a 76ers like flashback. Iguodala, the former  franchise player for the Philadelphia 76ers was spectacular from beginning to end with his defense on LeBron James and his clutch shooting from the three point line. This type of brilliant performance  thrusted  Iguodala into MVP considerations if the Warriors are to go on and win the NBA championship. Golden States’ Stephen Curry had a under control game that consisted of 22 points and 6 assists. Curry never forced anything and played a total team game. I was surprised he didn’t  try to shoulder the load as so many superstars of today’s game would try to do facing the circumstances the Warriors faced. Curry received major help from his supporting cast which included Draymond Green with 17 points, Harrison Barnes with 14 points and 8 rebounds, and seldom used veteran David Lee who had 9 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes. If the ghost of Klay Thompson ever comes back to human form for the Warriors, then it might be goodnight for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thompson again was a no show as he tallied 9 points in 39 minutes. It is inexplicable for a “superstar” to have this type of anemic performance, but on this night, his absence was barely noticeable because of his teammates.

How bout them tired Cavaliers?

This game was horrible to watch if your were a Cavalier fan. The Cavs seemed as if they were playing in mud for 48 minutes. LeBron James finally came back down to earth after his previous supernatural efforts in the three games prior. James had a uncharacteristic 20 points and suffered a devastating fall that resulted in stitches after the game. His partner in crime Matthew Dellavedova was  ineffective the whole night. Delly had 10 points and shot a miserable 3 for 14 from the field to go along with severe cramps as he often went to the bench to have them treated. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert played invisible. I didn’t know that was possible. Somehow they managed to combine for 9 points in 67 minutes, simply embarrassing if your trying to win a NBA championship. The excuse will be that the Cavaliers played three games in five days which resulted in tired play, however at this point in the season being tired is not a excuse.

The Cavs  have two days of rest before they battle in what should be one of the greatest game fives in NBA finals history. The Cavaliers have to get more production from there bench if they want to win this series. I expect Shawn Marion to make a appearance to try to slow down Andre Iguodala. That may sound funny to most, but never underestimate the heart of a champion and an elite defender. J.R. Smith has to show up eventually right? Smith was so horrible in game four that it could have been Stephen King’s next horror novel. Smith shot a pathetic 2 for 12 from the field and missed everyone of his 3 point attempts. If the Cavs lose this series not only will injuries be to blame but I expect Jr Smith to take plenty of heat if it unfolds that way. A guy with this much talent can’t continue to leave his teammates out to dry like this. Smith is my key player for game five, he has to show up, he just has too!

The Warriors think they have found a formula to win a NBA championship. They will play “small ball for it all.”  I’m curious to see if they can play the same way once Cleveland is fully rested and their batteries recharged. I think game five at home is a win for the Golden State Warriors and they should be up 3-2 when its all said and done.

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