Game 4 in Cleveland was the first game in this series that was not a blowout. This was also the first game of this series in which Stephen Curry found his mark, scoring 38 points on 7-13 from beyond the arc. During the regular season, Stephen Curry averaged 30 points a game. During the finals, however, he is averaging a dismal 21.5 points a game. In fact, this was his only game for this series in which he scored over 20 points.
Another interesting fact to note from game 4 is that the starters played heavy minutes. For the Cavs, LeBron James, J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving all played over 43 minutes and for the Warriors, their starting five minus Andrew Bogut all played over 39 minutes. I was surprised that the Warriors did not use their bench as much as they had in pervious games this series. Leandro Barbosa, an essential bench player for the Warriors, saw 0 minutes which was surprising. With the exception of Andre Igoudala, the Warriors only allocated 31 total minutes to their bench during game 4. Look for the Warriors to go to their bench more often in game 5.
There have been exactly 0 teams in NBA history who have clawed back from a 3-1 series deficit. This being said, the Cavs have fight in them. While Richard Jefferson helped them a lot in game 3, he was almost invisible in game 4. Look for the Cavs to revert back to their old starting lineup with Kevin Love at the 4 spot. Tristan Thompson was a bright spot for the Cavs and provided much needed energy on the boards.
Another advantage that the Cavs have is that Draymond Green will not play in game 5 due to a suspension enforced for having more than 5 flagrant fouls during this postseason. Draymond sure got his moneys worth on each flagrant foul and the NBA was right to enforce a flagrant foul after the game. This will mean the Warriors will most likely start Andre Igoudala at the small forward spot, therefore pushing Harrison Barns to power forward.
The Cavs will need to shoot a lot of threes in order to be in contention for a game 5 win. In the last game the Warriors again attempted 11 more threes and made 11 more threes than the Cavs. The Cavs need more ball movement and less isolation basketball from Irving and James.
All-in-all, look for a lot of offense in game 5.
By Ian Riaf