After a disappointing Game 4 loss against the Golden State Warriors, some Cavs fans are freaking out about the series, deeming that the Cavs have lost. They haven’t yet, with the series tied 2-2, and here are five reasons why Cavs fans should still have hope in the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the championship.
5. Lineup Changes
In the 2014 Finals with the San Antonio Spurs against the LeBron-led Miami Heat, the Spurs ultimately came away with the Championship, winning in 7 games. Much of this is credited to the Spurs coaching staff, who decided to start Boris Diaw instead of Tiago Splitter at the Center spot, creating a mismatch for Chris Bosh. The Heat failed to adjust, and then lost in game 7. The Warriors made a similar change after noticing the lineup switch that the Spurs made, inserting Iguodola at PF and taking Andrew Bogut out of the starting lineup. Iguodola exploited the Cavs bigs, shooting 4 3’s on the night. The Cavs must make a similar change, taking Mozgov or Thompson out of the starting 5 and inserting another shooter to pair up with Iguodola. David Blatt seemed hesitant to make the change in game 4, and reports say that the Cavs veterans thought that they should have changed up the rotation, as it is getting quite predicable. We shall see if Blatt changes things up, and how it plays out on Sunday.
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4. Joe Harris
Yes, Joe Harris is a rookie. Yes, he has only played 3-4 minutes and it was during the blowout loss in Game 4. Despite his inexperience, he is a better 3 point shooter and defender than Mike Miller, James Jones, or Shawn Marion due to his youth and quickness. It may be a little bit early to go with the rook, but you never know what could happen. With J.R. and Shump playing poorly on both ends, Blatt took both out at one point during game 4, and the defense and offense fell apart. With Harris in there, he has the potential to have a hot shooting night and help the Cavs win Game 5.
Let’s be real here, it’s almost impossible to shoot worse than Smith and Shumpert have, so why not give the rookie a chance. If he does make an impact, he wouldn’t be the first unlikely player in this series to do so.
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3. Deep bench full of experienced veterans
James Jones and Mike Miller played 4 and 3 seasons, respectfully, with the LeBron on the Heat. THey know what it takes to win championships, and have both performed very well. Miller shot 7-8 from 3 point on his way to a 23 point night, sealing the championship against the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2012. Jones has played good defense thus far in the Finals, and even made a buzzer-beating 3 pointer before halftime of Game 4.
Although Shawn Marion has only one ring with the Dallas Mavericks, he is a seasoned veteran playing in his final NBA season, and is itching to contribute. He has the size and wingspan that will make it more difficult for Andre Iguodola and Harrison Barnes to make 3’s.
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2. Streaky J.R.
J.R.’s shooting is very streaky, and we are still waiting for him to have a big night. Game 5 has to be it. He has many years of experience in his belt, and it should not translate to him shooting below 50% so far in the series, including 3-13 and 2-12 shooting nights in games 1 and 4. Look for him to step up in a big way of the bench and play like the 6th man he once was on the New York Knicks.
Let’s also hope that he doesn’t commit silly fouls like he did in game 3, which knocked him off his offensive game and ultimately led to his 6th foul, fouling out of the game.
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1. LeBron on the Road
LBJ plays so well on the road and will not go down without a fight. His personal motto is “Strive for Greatness”, and if he is able to pull off this championship win against the Golden State Warriors, it will go down in the history books as one of the all-time great Finals performances. Truly without a solid second option on the team, LeBron must shoulder all the weight and carry this team to a game 5 victory. We’ve seen him do it before, in games 2 and 3, but it looked as if the Camera-to-the-head incident affected his play. He’s known to bounce back strong after losses, and he likes nothing more than to play away games, because he uses the boos as extra motivation.