The Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship but not in the convincing fashion everyone, including myself, thought they would. After ripping through the dangerous Western Conference playoff bracket, the Warriors struggled to put away LeBron James and four other guys.
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Even though Golden State has taken home the Larry O’Brien trophy, their winning came at a price: They won’t repeat.
Someone else will be crowned champion next year because the Cleveland Cavaliers exposed the blueprint to beating the Warriors.
First, Steph Curry isn’t the MVP magician that he looked like during the regular season and most of the playoffs. The unheralded Matthew Dellavedova gave Curry serious trouble by bodying him up and getting physical. Every other team was watching and now has a better defensive game plan to attack Curry with: beat Steph up.
Second, Andre Iguodala is a bad free throw shooter. We already saw DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard get fouled to take their teams’ offensive flow away, expect opponents to do the same with Iggy. His mental collapse went overlooked because the Warriors won but his poor free throw shooting kept the Cavs in multiple games.
Third, Draymond Green can’t score inside against a shot blocker or even shoot open jumpers on the perimeter. Green struggled on offense throughout the series and now teams know they can cheat off him when Curry gets hot.
Fourth, slow the game down. The Warriors were at their best in a helter-skelter offense where Curry and especially Klay Thompson shine because they’re unselfish and excel with impromptu shots. However, when the Cavaliers slowed the pace of the game down, Golden State’s two best players looked lost in plodding half court offensive sets.
Fifth, crash the glass. Tristan Thompson beasted down low on whoever the Warriors threw at him. In fact, Thompson outplayed Andrew Bogut so bad that Bogut lost his spot in the starting lineup. After Bogut, the only other true big man is Festus Ezeli and his hands are made of stone. David Lee is a finesse player and Green is undersized so Golden State had major problems corralling contested rebounds.
The Warriors took home the gold but the truth is they played poorly in the Finals. A severely undermanned Cavaliers team came dangerously close to beating them despite a lack of talent, a lack of depth and not executing that well themselves.
Everyone now knows the Warriors really didn’t win so much as outlasted the Cavs. The truth is out: the Warriors are very beatable.