Everything and anything the Cleveland Cavaliers can do during the 2018 NBA Finals must be done in Game 4.
There is no tomorrow for the Cleveland Cavaliers if they do not win Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Finals. Not only is their season is on the line but also their run of great basketball as there are multiple scenarios that could play out in the coming weeks.
Cleveland cannot hold back anything now. Some people deserve praise while others simply do not. We can all look back and think if J.R. Smith did not mess up Game 1 then it would be a different series right now.
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The first priority for the Cavaliers is to not get swept. Their only hope is to play another night. As much as I want to see the Golden State Warriors spoil another 3-1 (and in this case 3-0) series and lose the championship I don’t see it. They are just too good.
James is tired beyond words and it is evident at different times throughout games. The best thing Cleveland can do for James and the franchise is to make a number of impactful moves like adding another all-star as well as better complimentary pieces accordingly.
Also, no more subpar acquisitions are needed like a Jordan Clarkson. To move on from him and others though may lead to Cleveland giving up Tristan Thompson too and I am all for that. The unfortunate part of all of that is no moves are going to be made until after the series.
Therefore, more adjustments are needed and Cleveland must work with what they have. The Cavaliers cannot do anything when a Kevin Durant goes off the way he did in Game 3 or when Stephen Curry did in Game 2. When dealt with those circumstances, Cleveland can only focus on making as many baskets as they can to keep up.
Looking ahead to Game 4, to keep their season going, the Cavs need to do things they have not done much of if at all. I mean, what do they have to lose? What Cleveland has done is not working. First off, Smith’s minutes need to be reduced and Cedi Osman should get more playing time.
Speaking of more playing time, how about for once Kendrick Perkins is activated and plays? Yes, he is an important leader in the locker room and on the bench but his impact can certainly be felt on the court. Otherwise, what is the point in even having him here?
Larry Nance Jr is doing things that are not seen in the box score, such as setting picks which leads to open shots for others and going after loose balls for more scoring opportunities. Having someone like that who can also score unlike Thompson deserves more time on the court.
Dare I say it, Rodney Hood deserves more playing time? Yep, he does. After his postseason run up to this point, Hood is going to be remembered for not playing, told to play but doesn’t, struggles when he played, and finally has a breakout game in Game 3. Hood’s scoring ability and ability to guard the Warriors’ bigger guards are beneficial to Cleveland.
To get the most out of their defense, the Cavs need to stop switching when it comes to Kevin Love guarding Curry. The only way to resolve Love guarding Curry is for everyone else nearby to step up. Love has been decent covering the Golden State star but the problem has been more with the supporting defense. Once he gets past Love others fail to come over and contest his shot, help defend, or simply gives up on the play.
Thompson is not the player Draymond Green is. However, as long as he does not get more technicals, Thompson should continue as he has when going up against Green. Cleveland is not going to stop Golden State. The Cavs can only try to limit how successful they are on a given night.
When the level of talent is significantly better on one side than the other, the underdog must be perfect. The talent available can on do so much. Since Game 4 could be Cleveland’s last game this season, everything must be seen that they have prepared.
There cannot be any regrets going into the offseason that something could have done differently. So, whether it is defensive matchups, playing time decisions, how the offense runs when James is not touching the basketball, or something else, Lue must lay everything on the court to win.