• John Zawiski

How Cleveland's Frontcourt is Impacting the Finals


*Photo via AP

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had their way down low with Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson in the NBA Finals. Mozgov had a fantastic Game 4 finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds. The Cavs saw the Warriors go to a smaller lineup in Game 4 and it was dominated by the Cavs front court. However, the Cavs lost the game despite the dominance from their frontcourt.

The Cavs have a great frontcourt despite the absence of Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao. Thompson along with Mozgov had a great Game 4. Thompson finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Cavs frontcourt outscored the Warriors front court 42-41 in Game 4. However, that is a deceiving statistic. The Warriors only played their centers for a total of five minutes. With the Warriors smaller lineup, they found their power forwards such as Draymond Green and David Lee playing at the big man position and players such as Harrison Barnes playing the power forward position.

Game 4 shows the impact that the Cavs frontcourt has against the Warriors and it shows that they are dominate at the power forward and center positions. The Warriors went with their big lineup in Games 1 through 3 and found themselves down two games to one in the series. The Warriors had to change their entire game plan as a result of the Cavs frontcourt.

Game 4 went to show the genius that Coach Steve Kerr has. He realized that the Warriors big’s were outmatched and being outplayed so he made a lineup change. The Cavs had no answer for this change as they never saw this kind of lineup before. Despite the smaller lineup and a career game out of Mozgov, the Cavs only outscored the Warriors front court and smaller lineup by one point. Besides the frontcourt the Cavs were outscored 62-40 which resulted in a 103-82 loss in Game 4 for the Cavs.

The Cavs in Game 5 went with an adjustment of their own. They also went with a smaller lineup to try and counter the Warriors. Mozgov only played nine minutes in Game f5 and failed to score a single point after a dominant Game 4. LeBron James played a lot of the power forward and Thompson played center for most of the game. Once again, the Cavs despite going to a smaller lineup, still outplayed the Warriors frontcourt and still found themselves behind after the clock hit zero as the Warriors also won Game 5 104-91.

The Warriors are going to show that you do not need a dominant frontcourt to win in the NBA. They are now in complete control of the series and are one win away from an NBA Championship. Lee only played nine minutes in Game 5 and Bogut did not even play. The game for both teams has changed since the first game of the NBA Finals as both teams have made lineup changes. So far the Cavs have no answer for this Warriors small lineup. It is going to be interesting to see what adjustments the Cavs make in their overall lineup going forward.

Sources

http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400796848

http://www.nba.com/games/20150614/CLEGSW/gameinfo.html?ls=eref:google:1b:post

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