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Fatigue playing role in NBA Finals

Fatigue playing role in NBA Finals

Here’s the News Herald reporting on the 2015 NBA Finals, where the Warriors and Cavaliers bringa 2-2 tied series to Oakland Sunday night:

It’s just human nature.

The Cavaliers have a shortened rotation, are playing heavy minutes and have experienced some bumps and bruises. Fatigue — mental and physical — is obviously a factor in the NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers scored the first seven points of Game 4. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was forced to call time out with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter.

As the players came toward the bench, Kerr told them, “Don’t worry. They are playing seven players in their rotation for 48 minutes. That will wear them down.”

The Warriors ended up blowing out the Cavaliers, 103-82, to knot the series at 2-2. The series shifts to Oakland, Calif., for Game 5 on June 14 at Oracle Arena.

On Thursday, June 11, the Warriors beat the Cavs 103-82 to tie the 2015 NBA Finals 2-2. Here are video highlights of the best plays, key players, with mini-movie and more:

J.R. Smith struggles badly for Cavs in Game 4 Finals loss

Here’s the Northeast Ohio Media Group reporting on Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, who along with many of his teammates struggled to shoot the ball Thursday in Cleveland:

J.R. Smith struggles badly for Cavs in Game 4 Finals loss

J.R. Smith pretty much summed up his play after going 2-for-12 from the field and 0-for-8 from downtown.

“Horses—,” is how he described his night on Thursday after the Golden State Warriors evened the series at two games apiece with a 103-82 victory over the Cavaliers at The Q in the NBA Finals.

His answer might have been too blunt for some, but it illustrates how hard he’s taking it. With the Cavaliers using a rotation of six and a half players, it is imperative that they get a significant contribution from Smith, and he understands that.

That’s why he’s kicking himself.

“I put a lot on myself, especially with guys being out,” Smith told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “You just try to do the best you can when you can. It’s just not paying off right now.”

Warriors beat Cavs 103-82, tie NBA Finals 2-2

Thursday night in Cleveland, the Warriors benched center Andrew Bogut, added Andre Iguodala to the starting lineup, and beat the Cavs 103-82. The NBA Finals are now tied 2-2, with Game 5 Sunday at Golden State. Here are some quotes from around the web:

The AP reports: Stephen Curry shook off Iman Shumpert with a dribble, stepped back behind the line and splashed a 3-pointer that seemed to submerge a mute button on rocking and rolling Quicken Loans Arena. Curry clenched both fists, slapped his chest and yelled, ”C’mon!”

At last, this was the MVP and these were the Golden State Warriors - so deep, so deadly.

Curry and Andre Iguodala scored 22 points apiece and the Warriors, showing why they were the league’s best team all season, squared the NBA Finals at 2-2 on Thursday night with a 103-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 20 points - 21 under his average in the series - with 12 rebounds and eight assists, but Cleveland’s megastar, who needed stitches to close a cut on his head sustained when banged it into a camera in the first half, didn’t score in the fourth quarter and couldn’t do enough for the undermanned Cavaliers.

The AP reports: Timofey Mozgov led Cleveland with 28 points and guard Matthew Dellavedova, again battling leg cramps after a hospital stay for dehydration, had 10. The Cavs shot just 2 of 18 from the field and were outscored 27-12 in the fourth quarter. They also got nothing from their bench as J.R. Smith missed all eight 3-point attempts and Cleveland’s reserves combined to score seven points.

AFP reports: Iguodala had nine points in the first quarter and hit 8-of-15 shots for the game, including 4-of-9 3-point tries.

That even had four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James impressed.

“He’s one of the X-factors and he came to play,” James said. “He shot the ball extremely well. He was in attack. He got a couple of dunks in transition early on which got him going and he was really good. To start him gave them that boost.”

AFP reports: James suffered two cuts to the right side of his head on a camera after falling into a photographer late in the second quarter, writhing in pain on the floor at the feet of fans while grabbing his head. He also battled leg cramps and fatigue in the second half.

Reuters reports: “I had a slight headache, which I think every one of you guy would probably have if you ran into a camera,” James told reporters when asked about the incident. “But I didn’t go through any protocol. I’m fine. Like I said, I got a few stitches and I got a slight headache right now but I’ll be fine with that.”

Reuters reports: Iguodala had averaged 12.3 points off the bench over the first three games of the series but dug deep when it mattered most, given that none of the 32 teams who have fallen behind 3-1 in the NBA Finals have come back to win the series. Known more for his defense, Iguodala coolly drained four three-pointers en route to a season-high 22 points in 39 minutes for the top-seeded Warriors.

Video: NBA Finals Game 3 mini-movie

Tuesday night in Cleveland, the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 96-91 to take a 2-1 NBA Finals lead. In the win, LeBron James finished with a ridiculous 40 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and four steals. Here’s the NBA Finals game 3 “mini-movie” summarizing what went down:

Matthew Dellavedova stepping up for Cavs in NBA Finals

Here’s the Northeast Ohio Media Group reporting on Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, whose role has greatly increased due to Kyrie Irving’s playoff-ending injury. The Cavs won Game 3 last night in Cleveland and lead the Warriors 2-1 in the NBA Finals:

Matthew Dellavedova stepping up for Cavs in NBA Finals

Matthew Dellavedova is one fearless, hard-nosed son of a gun. The mark he has made in these Finals has been nothing short of amazing. The Cavaliers’ backup point guard has completely overshadowed the league’s MVP, Stephen Curry, and it hasn’t even been close.

Dellavedova is doing it with a relentless drive and determination that’s overpowering the long-range marksmen. The second-year player went for a postseason career-high of 20 points in a Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors to put the Cavaliers up 2-1 in the series…

J.R. Smith and Brendan Haywood were on the bench marveling at what Dellavedova was doing out there last night. While Dellavedova was locking down his man defensively, stepping in and hitting a 25-footer, knocking down clutch free throws, throwing alley-oops to LeBron James in transition and diving for loose balls, the two agreed during the game that this guy’s story needed to be told in detail…

Dellavedova isn’t the fastest, the quickest, the most athletic, but he’s getting the job done and giving the Warriors fits in the process.

Cavs take 2-1 NBA Finals lead

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have taken a 2-1 NBA Finals lead vs the Golden State Warriors. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on last night’s Game 3 in Cleveland:

Unlike Game 2, this game could not be hung on Stephen Curry but on the support staff. Unlike Game 2, this wasn’t a triumph of the Cleveland defense because it gave up 36 points in the fourth quarter of a game it had seemingly salted away.

But exactly like Game 2, James made the game revolve around him – this time, going 14-for-34 with 12 rebounds and eight assists in 46 minutes. Exactly like Game 2, the Cavs seemingly got the game by the thorax only to let it wriggle away in a desperate fourth quarter. Exactly like Game 2, the Warriors could not elevate their 3-point game from liability to weapon.

And exactly like Game 2, it did not occur to the Warriors that desperation was called for until it ended up being too late again. Not by a lot, but by enough.

“We’ve had times throughout season where we were out of sync and just gutted it out,” Andre Iguodala said, trying to softpedal the problem. “We just haven’t been able to find our own rhythm yet. It’s weird but not weird that we’ve started slow but gotten into our flow eventually. I think they’re a great team, very underrated, and they’re just taking it to us right now.”

Cavs win Game 2 in OT, tie Finals

Cavs win Game 2 in OT, tie series

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on 2015 NBA Finals Game 2, which the Cavs won in overtime to tie the series 1-1:

Klay Thompson did everything he could to go bucket for bucket with LeBron James, but the King proved he wasn’t quite ready to yield his crown Sunday night in Oakland.

With a surrounding cast absent All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James did a little bit of everything: recording a triple-double and willing Cleveland to a series-tying, 95-93 overtime victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

“Geez, you’d be hard-pressed to find a guy anywhere, anytime … (who) can give you the kind of all-around performance and all-around leadership that LeBron does for his group,” Cleveland head coach David Blatt said.

Thompson finished with a team-high 34 points, but he was outdueled by James, who had 39 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists and a free throw that gave the Cavaliers a 95-93 lead with 4.4 seconds on the clock to clinch a historic game. It was the first time in NBA history that the first two games of the Finals went into overtime.

Cavs Big Three down to one

Cavs Big Three down to one

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on the Warriors vs Cavaliers NBA Finals:

The Big Three was down to The Big Two after Kevin Love sustained a dislocated shoulder in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

And with Kyrie Irving’s undergoing playoff-ending surgery Saturday to repair a fractured kneecap, now the Cleveland Cavaliers must carry on in the NBA Finals against the Warriors with just one of their marquee players available.

LeBron James tried to do it all even with Irving playing 44 minutes on Thursday in the opener. James scored 44 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the Cavs’ 108-100 overtime loss to the Warriors in Game 1 at Oracle Arena.

How will his approach be different in Game 2 on Sunday night without the team’s All-Star point guard?

“Well, if I get more aggressive than 36 shots,” quipped James, who actually attempted 38 shots and made 18 on Thursday night. “I might have about 58 of them things tomorrow night. I don’t know how much more aggressive you want me to get at this point.”

Matthew Dellavedova now has huge role in NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors lead the Cleveland Cavaliers 1-0 in the 2015 NBA Finals. Game 2 is Sunday night in Oakland. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on the Cavs’ guard situation:

Kyrie Irving’s series-ending fractured kneecap instantly vaulted Dellavedova into a prominent role. He’s expected to step into the starting lineup at point guard, no easy chore given his Warriors counterpart at the position: Stephen Curry, the league MVP.

Not surprisingly, Dellavedova’s teammates took turns expressing their faith in him before Saturday’s practice at Oracle Arena.

“Delly does a great job of keeping the train on the tracks,” guard Iman Shumpert said. “He’s one of those guys who’s going to scratch and claw until we win.”

Cleveland did win twice with Dellavedova starting in the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta. He collected 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in Game 2 (a 94-82 victory for the Cavs), and then he had 17 points, three rebounds and two assists in Game 3 (a 114-111 overtime win for the Cavs).

Kyrie Irving injury update: out 3-4 months with fractured left kneecap

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The Cleveland Cavaliers injury hits keep coming, and the latest is a huge blow that should spell the end to their championship hopes this season as they face the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals. The Warriors lead the series 1-0.

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving left last night’s NBA Finals game one in the overtime period with a left knee injury. He received an MRI today at Stanford Sports Medicine Clinic, which revealed a fractured left kneecap.

He will have surgery to repair the knee in the coming days at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland by Cavaliers head team physician Dr. Richard Parker.

His recovery time is projected to be three to four months and his status will be updated as appropriate.

This leaves LeBron James in the Finals without Irving or injured forward Kevin Love.

Former Knicks J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert now key NBA Finals players

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on a pair of former Knicks who are now key members of the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers:

LeBron James and Stephen Curry — league MVPs, past and present — obviously will dominate much of the discussion when the NBA Finals finally commence between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

But the local flavor is undeniable, as well, as former Knicks J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are riding shotgun alongside James in search of a championship barely five months after Phil Jackson dumped them for almost no return in January.

“It’s a dream come true, to be in the Finals and be in this situation,” Smith said before Cleveland’s practice on Wednesday. “Going from the worst team to the best team, or one of the best teams, it’s unbelievable. It’s hard to put into words.

“But we talk about it often. We just hope we make the best of the situation…You have to take advantage of it.” …

Shumpert, who figures to draw the primary assignment of guarding Curry with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving nursing multiple injuries, added that he feels “blessed” for the opportunity to play “on the big stage” of the Finals.

In the upcoming Cavaliers vs Warriors NBA Finals, it’ll be a Warriors team effort to guard LeBron James, but Golden State forward and defensive guru Draymond Green should be a big part of that. On Twitter tonight, we (@InsideHoops) tossed this out there: LeBron James vs Draymond Green, discuss. Here are some of your most interesting responses:

@AJConolly: I think LeBron will cook him but can’t wait to see how Green does.

@seanndebbie: It’s no discussion, last time Green guarded Lebron, Lebron dropped 42.

@josephbacaltos: Warriors players still going help off their man.

@camillasaguin: Uhhh why is this even a discussion? LeBron can’t and won’t be stopped. Draymond Green? Who dat? Who dat? #NoMatch

‏@Max_Atttack: Draymond will be able to hold Lebron better than any other defender he’s gone up against this postseason.

@Lienitis117a: Draymond Green is a lot like Kwahi, so I expect LeBron to have rough games…

@Joshuabehymer: Draymond will play him like Diaw did for the Spurs. Straight up and physical, if he scores, you live with it.

@JdotKimmy: The most physical defender GS can throw at him, but not enough quickness to keep up.

@akunematata: Who will guard Tristan Thompson? Field day on the boards.

@RomeTrav: Somebody hacked yall.

@TravBoll91: That means Barnes on Thompson for the rebounding battle. Good luck with that.

@lfredgarrido: Green’s a good defender but LeBron is strong enough to enforce. Green’s not yet on the Kwahi/PG13 lvl on terms of stopping LBJ.

@rook_js: Livingston would have more success guarding him then anybody else on GS.

‏@8ballSprts: Unless Draymond learns to harness his aggressive and passionate style, he will be in foul trouble often.

@Jmic84: Didn’t @KingJames drop 40 last time? Yea no chance.

Klay Thompson health update: Good to go for NBA Finals Game 1

Klay Thompson health update: OK for NBA Finals Game 1

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who was diagnosed with a concussion after suffering an injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on May 27, has completed the NBA’s concussion protocol and has been cleared to play for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

This was expected, as there was no reason to think the effects of the concussion would linger beyond this year’s lengthy period between the end of the Conference Finals and the start of the NBA Finals.

Thompson’s scoring and outside shooting is a key part of the Warriors offense.

According to CSN Bay Area, “Thompson said after working out each of the past two days, he has lost nothing in terms of conditioning or rhythm. “We’ve had so much time to get it back, I don’t think it really messed with me,” he said, referring to the seven-day layoff between the conference finals.”

Klay Thompson diagnosed with concussion

Klay Thompson suffers concussion, exact return date unknown

Klay Thompson diagnosed with concussion

Following extensive examinations over the last two days – including neurological tests earlier this morning – Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson has been diagnosed with a concussion. He will not return to the court until he is symptom-free and cleared under the NBA’s concussion protocol guidelines. He will be evaluated daily and there is no timetable for his return.

Cavs sweep Hawks, reach 2015 NBA Finals

Cavs sweep Hawks, reach 2015 NBA Finals

The AP reports: The championship LeBron James craves more than any other, the one he came back home to get, is within reach. The Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals. James scored 23 points, Kyrie Irving provided a boost after missing two games and Cleveland reserved a spot in the finals with a 118-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night to win the Eastern Conference title. By sweeping the top-seeded Hawks, the Cavs earned their second trip to the finals, where they will face either Golden State or Houston starting June 4.

The AP reports: It will be the fifth straight visit to the league’s showcase event for the inimitable James, who returned to Cleveland after four years in Miami to try and end this city’s championship drought dating to 1964. The Cavs are four wins from doing it, and if they can, James will have a title that would put him in a class by himself. Other players have won more championships, but none has ever done it for his ring-starved home region.

The AP reports: Jeff Teague scored 17 and Paul Millsap 16 for Atlanta, which won a team-record 60 games during the regular season and made the conference finals for the first time since 1970. But the Hawks were no match for the Cavaliers and had no answer for James, who nearly averaged a triple-double in the four games.

Reuters reports: In addition to his 23 points, James also made nine rebounds and had seven assists on Tuesday, doing most of his scoring in the first half as Cleveland opened up a commanding 59-42 by halftime. The Cavs were bolstered by the return of point guard Kyrie Irving, who had missed the last two games with a knee injury. Irving played 22 minutes and scored 16 points.

AFP reports: Cleveland will face either the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets in the championship showdown. Golden State leads that series 3-1.

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, sweeping them and reaching the NBA Finals. During the Cavs postgame press conference, J.R. Smith snapped an Instagram selfie with LeBron James and Tristan Thompson. Enjoy!

Tristan Thompson making big plays for Cavs

The Cavaliers lead the Hawks 3-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals playoff series. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on one of the most important members of Cleveland’s postseason squad:

Tristan Thompson making big plays for Cavs

No one will read about double-digit rebounds regarding Tristan Thompson’s performance Sunday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, one the Cavs won in overtime 114-111. The Cavs now own a 3-0 lead in the series.

Though the numbers are respectable [10 points, seven rebounds], his contributions came down to two huge plays – one in regulation and a more significant one in the overtime.

Thompson, playing with five fouls since the 6:09 mark of the fourth quarter, worked as if he had no worries. In the overtime, he grabbed an offensive rebound with 36.9 seconds left on the clock and the Cavs trailing 111-109. He found a wide-open LeBron James in the left corner of the court and James connected on his only three-point shot of six attempts on the night.

“When I got that rebound I was hoping I didn’t get pushed out of bounds like the last one [just moments before], but I stayed in bound,” he said. “Got my balance and looked for the open teammate and that was LeBron.”

Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Kyle Korver suffered a right ankle injury with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter of last night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. X-rays performed at Philips Arena last night were negative. A follow-up MRI and examination this morning at the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed a severe high right ankle sprain. Korver will see a foot and ankle specialist to determine the best course of treatment. He is out for the remainder of the postseason.

Cavs take 2-0 series lead vs Hawks

Cavs take 2-0 series lead vs Hawks

The Cleveland Cavaliers are rocking, and leave Atlanta with two wins, heading to Cleveland for Game 3. No Kyrie Irving in Game 2, no Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs, yet no problem so far for LeBron James and company. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

The Cavaliers are down to one superstar and plenty of helping hands.

The Hawks might be down to their last rites.

LeBron James had 30 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists and the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 94-82 Friday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. And they did it without Kyrie Irving.

Irving was held out of Friday’s game because of tendinitis in his left knee, yet his absence was barely noticeable.

Matthew Dellavedova had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in place of Irving, Iman Shumpert scored 16 points and the Cavs held the high-powered Hawks to 42 percent shooting while dismantling the best team in the East on their own floor.

Tristan Thompson grabbed 16 rebounds and Timofey Mozgov had 10 points and seven rebounds.

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