A few quick points:
1) it’s amazing what a difference three games makes. *Everyone,* after Game 3, was talking about Matthew Dellavedova’s super human effort, etc. etc. Then he turned back into a pumpkin, culminating in last night’s game, in which Delly fouled out in 25 minutes and scored zero points. For the series, Delly shot under 30% and, despite being the nominal point guard, had a one to one assist to turnover ratio. Overall, he was exposed and in over his head. The utterly ridiculous suggestion that the Cavs might be better off without Love and Kyrie Irving, widely entertained a week ago, is just that – an utterly ridiculous suggestion.
2) Andre Iguodala had a terrific series and is a fine MVP choice. Contrary to this ESPN piece, however, Iggy did, indeed, put up outstanding finals numbers. No he didn’t score 30 points per game (and by the way, points per game *is* a statistic, for all the anti-analytics types out there who nevertheless invoke points-per-game to evaluate performance). Beyond the fact that Iguodala was Golden State’s second leading scorer in the finals, he shot 52% from the field, including 40% from three. Iguodala’s high shooting percentage is especially good in a series in which no one shot well. The Warriors themselves shot under 44% for the series, the Cavs 38% and the only other player on the champs who converted more than half his field goal attempts was David Lee, who shot the ball a grand total of 15 times. Iguodala also had an outstanding 4-1 assist to turnover ratio, rarefied air usually reserved for the likes of Chris Paul. And he was also tied with Harrison Barnes as the second leading rebounder on the team.
That’s a hell of a finals, folks. By the numbers.
3) LeBron was brutally honest after the game last night in wondering out loud whether, if the end result of a playoff run is losing in the championship, it’s worth it. As Tom Ziller says, the public craves this sort of candor from athletes. Until we actually get it, that is:
Everyone wants athletes to be candid, until they actually hear something that doesn’t jive with their preconceived cliches of how an athlete is “supposed to act.” LeBron James is catching heat Wednesday morning for this statement in which he is brutally honest about what it feels like to lose in the NBA Finals, and whether the process is worth it.
…This isn’t a player categorically saying he’d rather miss the playoffs than lose in the finals, LeBron is being contemplative. He goes on to say that playing deep into the playoffs is “fun,” and he uses the term “lock back in” to describe how he stops his mind wandering and pushes the doubt out.
LeBron is getting eviscerated for being honest. For being fallible. For admitting he has doubts himself — and he’s getting dog-piled for it. If you want athletes to be honest then maybe it’s important to prepare yourself to hear things you might not like.
4) The Cavs’ perimeter players – Delly, James Jones, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert – just killed Cleveland. Each shot under 33% for the series (Shumpert barely cleared 25%). Collectively they had more turnovers than assists. Just brutal. Mozgov and Thompson played well in the series. But LeBron got absolutely nothing from anyone else (apart from Kyrie in Game 1).
5) On a frivolous note, this morning Greeny recounted the story of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who turned in one of the all-time Great Game 7 performances, when the Knicks won their first championship, in 1970. To contrast today’s athlete’s obsession with fitness and nutrition, Greeny noted that in his autobiography, Frazier said he stopped off for a chicken sandwich at McD’s prior to that deciding game in 1970. Being the loser that I am, I smelled an anachronism. So, as Casey Stengel would admonish, I looked it up. And it appears that McDonald’s didn’t introduce a chicken sandwich until 1980.