You don’t win the NBA Finals with talent alone. Adjustments are required from both players and coaches in the chess match that is a best-of-seven series.
– GALLERY: Golden State Warriors win NBA title
– #360VIEW: GSW on trend and the rest are to follow suit
Sure, the Golden State Warriors had this season’s MVP in Stephen Curry and his incredible shot-making, as well as a Swiss army knife in Draymond Green and a defensive stopper in Andre Iguodala, but the right utilisation makes the difference between a title and a disappointing June.
Here are the five reasons why the Warriors were able to stop the freight train of LeBron James and lift the Larry O’Brien trophy…
Inserting Andre Iguodala
His presence on defence was the only thing that slowed down LeBron and on the other end, he made Cleveland pay for the ample shooting space by coming through again and again.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr could have kept Iguodala as a reserve and stuck to his guns after not starting him all season, but had the sense to make the move when it mattered.
Early in the series, Green looked lost on offence as the Cavaliers dared him to be a playmaker after setting screens.
Once Green started to realise that attacking Cleveland’s size in the paint was not working and his shot was not falling, he began finding shooters and averaged 7.3 assists in the last three games.
Starting Iguodala was just part of Kerr’s line-up overhaul.
Heading to the bench was centre Andrew Bogut, who was supposed to play a crucial role, as the Warriors essentially sacrificed their rim protection and already-hampered rebounding for better spacing on offence.
It wasn’t a magic elixir that solved all of Golden State’s offensive woes, but it did lubricate their attack enough for them to gain more of a rhythm.
Steph Curry isolating
Remember when Matthew Dellavedova was a ‘Curry stopper’. Yeah, that time came and went pretty fast.
The truth is, even early in the series when Curry wasn’t himself, Dellavedova was getting plenty of help chasing him through on-ball and off-ball screens.
Once Curry started to take advantage one-on-one and put Dellavedova on an island, talent – as it almost always does – won out.
Helping on LeBron James
The Warriors went into the Finals with a mindset to not double LeBron much.
That philosophy changed as the series wore on with Golden State’s defence shading more towards LeBron and forcing the Cavs’ secondary players to have a bigger role.
As it turns out, you can’t just ‘let’ LeBron get his, because he will and then some.
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