After two games of seeing Cleveland put all of their money on LeBron creating offense on an island and relying on Matthew Dellavedova to "stop" Stephen Curry, we've finally seen Steve Kerr make a necessary adjustment and sit Andrew Bogut for so-far-Finals-MVP Andre Iguodala.
The adjustment led to a double digit victory, the first for either team in the series, for Golden State. Curry didn't have an outstanding performance, but he played well with 22 points and six assists.
Andre Iguodala, in the words of the illustrious Kevin Durant, YOU THE REAL MVP. Iggy has been playing out of his mind great lately, especially in games one and four. He's been tasked with the seemingly hopeless assignment of being the primary defender on LeBron James, and he's answered the bell and then some.
According to ESPN's Ethan Straus, Lebron James is shooting 35 percent with Iggy on the floor and the Cavs are minus-25. Kerr's gutsy move to start Andre Iguodala over Bogut was about more than just defense. On offense Iggy scored 22 points while going 4-9 from three, but he was invaluable to Golden State's offense. With Iguodala on the floor the Warriors were able to push the pace and attack the Cavs' defense in a way they weren't able to in the previous two games.
Golden State played as fast as it had all series and scored in triple digits for the first time in a blowout victory. Cleveland couldn't get its offense going against Golden State with Timofey Mozgov being the high-point-man for the Cavs with 28 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Being able to play fast is everything for Curry and co. With that pace, the Cavaliers, a team that has relied mostly on seven or eight players the entire series, become extremely exhausted which allows the Warriors to impose their will on Cleveland late in games, as they did last night.
You could see it with Dellavedova asking to come out, it's a part of the Warriors grand design, a design that is now back in play thanks to Iguodala and let's not forget, David Lee. Lee's resurgence began in game three when Golden State came back from down 20 points, playing Lee a lot and Bogut less. Now he's a focal point for Golden State's bench, even if he's only getting 15 minutes a game. Lee scored nine points, had five rebounds and dished out three assists in that short timespan.
Lee lost his starting job early in the season to Draymond Green, and slowly fell out of the rotation completely. Now, he's found his way back to being an important piece in the Warriors rotation, a piece that could inevitably help Golden State win the NBA championship.
Lee's resurgence itself is a testament to how deep the Warriors are as a team, although the Cavs could probably make a similar claim had the team been completely healthy. The Warriors, however, still have their depth and it's what will get them over the hump in the Finals.
The Cavaliers' key to defending the MVP, Steph Curry, has been to double him on pick and rolls, force a pass and allow someone else to beat them. Until Thursday night, that defense was a recipe for success. Green, Iguodala and Barnes had all seemed timid to shoot open threes, but that stopped in game four as the three combined to go 7-17 from deep, which isn't spectacular but it's enough to make Cleveland regret leaving them open.
Green, particularly, was special at the four, he made just one of his three shots beyond the arc but when he got the ball at the top of the key, he didn't hesitate. Green drove the lane, looked for the teardrop, the lob or an open teammate behind the arc. He finished the game with six assists and 17 assists, going 4-7 at the charity stripe.
That's how the Warriors beat you with pace and nine or 10 really good players. They make you pick your poison, splash brothers or everyone else, most people would pick everyone else, but the Warriors' everyone else almost always wins, and then once they've got it going you can't really stop the splash brothers.
It'll be interesting to see what David Blatt decides to do in game five. Whether he chooses to play some of his veterans like Shawn Marion and Mike Miller, or whether he decides to play Mozgov more or less against Golden State's small-ball lineup.
It's a game of adjustments, first Golden State had to adjust to Cleveland's slow ISO offense and now Blatt will have to adjust to Golden State's small-ball fast paced approach. The coach that makes the better adjustments with the best execution from its players, will be holding the trophy at the end of the series.