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NBA Journal, June 13
by Larry Ness - 06/13/2016
Playoff Journal (June 13)
Curry (38 points ) and Thompson (25) combined to make 11 of 22 three-point attempts in Game 4, as the Warriors set an NBA Finals record by connecting on 17 three-pointers. The Cavs led 55-50 at the half but in the second half, the Cavs turned into a two-man team with LBJ and Irving taking 33 of Cleveland’s 38 shots after the break. The strategy, if one can call it that, didn’t work, as the Warriors outscored the Cavs 58-42 and pulled away late for a 108-97 win. It marked Cleveland’s first home loss of the 2016 postseason (had opened 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS), as the Cavs were held under 100 points for the FIFTH time in this year’s playoffs.
Simply put, the Cavs are 13-0 this postseason when reaching triple digits (have averaged 110.3 PPG in those contests) but 0-5 when held under 100 points, while averaging just 89.2 PPG. The Cavs shot 6 of 25 from three-point range in Game 4 and are now a combined 18 of 69 (26.1 percent) from behind the arc in their three losses in this year’s Finals, compared to the 12 of 25 the team shot from three-point range in its lone win (Game 3). It’s been well reported that 28 of the 31 teams to fall behind 0-2 in the NBA Finals, just three have come back to win. In each of the those cases (the 1969 Celtics, the 1977 Blazers and the 2006 Heat), those “bounce-back” teams evened the series at two-all. With Cleveland losing Game 4, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that NO team has come back to win an NBA Finals after falling behind three games to one.
Golden State’s Game 4 win was the first by a road team in this series and overall, home teams in the Conference and NBA Finals are 13-4 SU and ATS. Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 57-26 SU (.687) and 51-32 ATS (61.4%). Fifty-one of the 83 games have stayed under (also 61.4%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 35-33 but minus-1.3 net games. Tonight’s Game 5 tips at 9:00 ET on ABC and the Warriors are favored by points.
Clearly, the biggest storyline to develop over the weekend was that Golden State forward Draymond Green is suspended for Monday night's Game 5. Upon league office review, he was assessed a flagrant foul 1 for his actions against LeBron James in Game 4. The penalty was announced Sunday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations. "The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game" VanDeWeghe said in a statement. "While Draymond Green's actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5."
Green will serve that suspension as teammates attempt to clinch their second straight NBA title. He has averaged 14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists in the series and was a candidate for NBA Finals MVP. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr learned of the suspension from GM Bob Myers and pulled Green aside to break the news to him. Kerr said Green was "disappointed" to learn of the suspension. However, Kerr declined to respond when asked if he was disappointed that Green put himself in the situation. "That's just something that stays within the team. It's not anything I'm going to comment on," Kerr told reporters at Sunday's press conference. "I'm disappointed for him that he can't play in a big game. But the ruling has been made, and we've got to move on." Green can't be in the building for Monday's game due to the suspension.
Speaking of Finals MVP, I saw an excellent article of the weekend which opined, “has a head coach ever been named Finals MVP?” It said in part, that Kerr deserves a look, as he’s masterfully handled this series, winning with his role players, winning with his stars, prodding better efforts out of everyone. He even threw unlikely substitution patterns in there and caught Cleveland off guard. Anyone expect James Michael McAdoo and Anderson Varejao to combine for serious minutes? In stark contrast, Cleveland's Tyronn Lue has ridden his starters for more and more minutes, 46 out of LeBron, 43 for J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving. This after they played 40, 38 and 37 respectively Wednesday, in a 30-point blowout victory. By the fourth quarter of Game 4, all three were gassed. Irving shot 3 of 10 in the quarter, LeBron couldn’t compete on the glass and no Cavalier could catch Steph and Klay on the perimeter. It was a disaster. It’s a persuasive commentary.
If there is a Game 6, my next journal will appear Thursday. If the Warriors close out the series in Game 5, I’ll post a 2016 playoff recap on Wednesday.