With Game 4 of the NBA Finals just hours away, we find ourselves asking the same question we asked after Games 2 and 3: Can the Warriors get back to being an offensive juggernaut – either tonight or at some point in this series?
“I think so,” former NBA All-Star and current MSG and CBS Sports Network analyst Wally Szczerbiak said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I just think the way they played in that fourth quarter, getting Steph Curry going, that could carry over. And for them, it’s going to have to carry over – because right now, the Cavs, matchup-wise, are dominating on the defensive end of the floor. I think David Lee could play a big part (in Game 4).”
Lee sparked the Warriors in Game 3, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal in just 13 minutes off the bench. The Warriors scored 35 points combined in the second and third quarters in Game 3. In the fourth quarter, with Lee on the floor for most of the period, they scored 36.
“I think the way he played, he poses a threat to the Cavs that they’re not prepared for,” Szczerbiak said. “I think they’re so prepared on defense to make guys play to their weaknesses: Draymond Green, (Andrew) Bogut – guys like that. They’re doubling Klay Thompson and Steph Curry whenever they have the ball and making other people beat them. But I don’t think they’re prepared for an adjustment for the skill set that David Lee has, so let’s see if he gets more minutes. Let’s see if the highest-paid player on Golden State – a former All-Star and a pretty accomplished guy in the NBA who I’m sure has a lot of motivation to win a title – can step up big and kind of help dig his team out of a hole. Because he really helped do that in the fourth quarter last game.”
To be fair, the Cavs will have had an off day and a film session to see how Lee exploited them in Game 3. Is that not enough time to adjust and come up with a game plan to slow Lee down?
“They’re going to obviously try to be prepared for it,” Szczerbiak said. “They’ve been getting the ball out of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s hands. Every time they touch it, they’re doubling them. So if you give the ball to David Lee in a matchup advantage or an advantage where he can make a play at the basket – make a shot or make a pass – you’re not prepared for that. That’s something that he can do. If you get the ball out of those two guys’ hands and put it in David Lee’s hands, he can make a play on the offensive end of the floor. And then defensively, the Cavs’ bigs haven’t been that much of a threat offensively. Tristan Thompson’s not a guy who’s going to score with his back to the basket, and (Timofey) Mozgov isn’t great at that, either. So David Lee could pose a big threat. Draymond Green is struggling with the back. He’s not playing as well he has all season, so we’ll see the adjustment that Steve Kerr makes. But they need to figure out a way to get that offense on track because right now, Cleveland’s controlling the tempo and controlling the whole rhythm of the game.”