The Golden State Warriors couldn’t hold on against a rampaging Cleveland Cavaliers in the final three games of the NBA Finals and as a result the Cavaliers have brought a sporting championship to Cleveland for the first time in 52 years.
Who could have stepped up more for the Warriors, who tried their heart out, who played better than expected; let’s find out –
Had a great Game 1 and Game 2 at home as he came off the bench. In only 11 minutes in Game 1 he finished with 11pts (a perfect 5/5 from the field). Game 3 he also played well, better on the defensive end than the previous two games and also made his way to the free throw line. However for some reason, he saw minimal time in Games 4 (zero minutes) and Game 7 (four minutes) and he could have provided a needed spark off the bench. In limited game time he played well, so his grade is respective of that.
Finals averages: 8.2ppg, 1rpg, 0.8apg, 0.5spg and 0.2bpg
Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland were the highlight of this series for Barnes, after that it went downhill in a big, big way. Over the last three games of the series, when the Warriors were in need of someone to stand up and score he vanished. Over that time he only managed 5/32 shooting (3/15 from deep). With the Cavaliers defense swarming Curry and Thompson, the Warriors needed Barnes to hit his shots (a number of which were open shots) and he couldn’t do it.
Finals averages: 9.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.4apg, 0.7spg and 0.4bpg
What if Bogut didn’t get injured? That will be a question asked when analysing this Finals series however it won’t be discussed here. He’s stats don’t read all that well, or at least they don’t jump out at you BUT he played the anchor role very well for the Warriors. In Game 5 before he was injured he was on track for a big game (except for the foul trouble that limited his minutes from the get go), he had three early blocks to combat the Cavaliers driving the lanes. On the offensive end the Warriors really under use him in the post as an offensive threat down low BUT where they do use him is as a passer and that was something they sorely missed in Games 6 and 7.
Finals averages: 2.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 0.4apg, 0.3spg and 1.4bpg
Saw a grand total of 20 minutes throughout the Finals series and really only had the one game where he made any sort of impact; Game 2 with 7pts, 3rbds and 1ast off the bench.
Finals averages: 2.6ppg, 0.6rpg and 0.4apg
The back-to-back MVP didn’t really get it going during the Finals, only having the one Steph Curry-esque shooting display; Game 4 in Cleveland where he finished with 38pts on 11/25 shooting (7/13 from deep). The Cavaliers played swarming defense around Curry and also made him work on the Warriors defensive end in an effort to tire him out (and get him in foul trouble). Only cracked 20pts in three of the seven games and his turnovers (30) outnumbered his assists (26). Definitely a down series for Curry.
Finals averages: 22.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 3.7apg, 0.9spg and 0.7bpg
With Bogut going down with an injury the Warriors needed Ezeli to be that inside presence but he wasn’t. He had one block for the entire series and was hardly a battler down low for rebounds. Doesn’t offer much on the court except for energy plays and they didn’t make an appearance this time around.
Finals averages: 2ppg, 1.9rpg, 0.4apg, 0.1spg and 0.1bpg
Had an exception Game 7 (32pts, 15rbds, 9asts and 2stls) but will be remembered in this Finals campaign for getting rubbed out for Game 5. With Green missing and Bogut going down injured, the Warriors defense all but disappeared as the Cavaliers started their comeback from 3-1 down. Shot poorly in a couple of games but found other ways to contribute whether that be rebounding, assists or general defense.
Finals averages: 16.5ppg, 10.3rpg, 6.3apg, 1.7spg and 1bpg
Didn’t play at the same level as he did against the Cavs in last seasons Finals series and was hampered by a back complaint in the final two games of this series but he still had a solid crack at it. The Warriors didn’t get that offensive outburst from him that they would have liked and he did miss a couple of open shots (not at the same level as Barnes) that could have swayed games the Warriors way. Defensively he was solid, getting his hands in without fouling but there just seemed to be something missing at the same time.
Finals averages: 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.1apg, 0.9spg and 0.7bpg
Had that career night in Game 1 (20pts, 4rbds, 3asts and 1stl) and then sort of shuffled into the background. From Game 4 onwards his shot didn’t fall as much as it should with his length/height; he has his favoured shots/spots where he will pull up from the free throw line or turn and shoot over his opponent down low that he hits at a great clip but that disappeared. Serviceable off the bench without being great.
Finals averages: 8.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.9apg, 0.3spg and 0.3bpg
James Michael McAdoo:
Played 18 minutes in the Finals series after not playing at all against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals. Didn’t do much of anything in those few minutes of play. Fouled pretty good though.
Finals averages: 0.7ppg, 0.7rpg and 0.2apg
Surprised that Rush didn’t see more time on the court, particularly with Harrison Barnes not shooting the ball well in the final three games. Rush is a shooter and time could have been found for him to provide some knock down shooting off the bench. In his 28 minutes for the series he attempted only three shots. With defenses collapsing on Curry/Thompson having Rush open on a wing and giving him the green light to shoot could have been a good play.
Finals averages: 0.2ppg, 0.8rpg, 0.3spg and 0.2bpg
Had a couple of offensive outbursts in the Western Conference Finals that could have been handy in the Finals but didn’t happen. He does love to shoot when he gets on the floor and in this series, he was throwing up bricks. Doesn’t offer much defensively normally and ran true to form here which was unfortunate because he needed to stand up when Bogut was injured.
Finals averages: 2ppg, 1.3rpg, 0.3apg, 0.1spg and 0.3bpg
Like Curry he just didn’t have it going in this series and like Curry really only had the one game where you could say he was Thompson-esque (Game 5; 37pts on 11/20 shooting and 6/11 from deep). Other than that he was inconsistent throughout games and scored less than 15pts in three of the seven games. Had good moments of defense throughout the series but didn’t string them together enough over games and too often made the wrong choice on the offensive end.
Finals averages: 19.6ppg, 3rpg, 1.9apg, 1spg and 0.6bpg
Still gets a ring but like Ezeli and Speights, didn’t stand up when needed for the team he is currently playing for. Came on, fouled a lot, flopped around a bit and then sat down. Warriors needed him to hit his mid range jumper and grab those rebounds like people know he can.
Finals averages: 1.2ppg, 1.3rpg, 1apg and 0.2spg
Coach, Steve Kerr:
Out coached by Tyronn Lue and never seemed to even look for an answer to the constant pick plays the Cavaliers were using (not to say they didn’t try but there was no obvious changes). If the Warriors were to play under the screens instead of try to fight through/over them then the defenders wouldn’t have been switched so much (e.g. Curry onto James or Livingston onto James) and drives to the lane wouldn’t have opened up so easily.
Also as mentioned earlier, keeping Barnes on when he was ice cold and not trying something different (e.g. Brandon Rush who can fulfill the same role) is also a point against him.