Jared Zwerling: ‘Blatt Needs To Play Bench Guys’

After watching the Golden State Warriors pick apart the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, many people around the country believe this series is over. In fact, they don’t see the Cavs winning another game. Warriors in six.

Andrew Bogusch, who was filling in for Brandon Tierney as co-host of CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, is one of those people.

Jared Zwerling is another.

“Yeah, entering this series, I had the Warriors in six games, and I think a key reason was the Warriors depth,” the Bleacher Report NBA senior writer said. “When Steve Kerr can go to David Lee off the bench and he can produce like that – he’s a former All-Star, at one point one of the best forwards in the game, a 20-and-10 guy – the Cavaliers don’t have that depth. I noticed last night they got a little tired. I think that Game 3 was a punishing game. They don’t go deep off their bench. I saw a lot of defensive laps. A lot of times in Games 2 and 3 – when they won – they did a very good job really putting a lot of physicality to Stephen Curry and forcing him to the sideline. I think last night they got a lot of middle penetration with Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, a lot of breakdowns there, and the pace was great. The Warriors play with pace and they have to control that. They did a very good job contesting shots, getting the ball in transition that first half, jumping out to that big lead. That’s how they play, and they’re deep. So I think with that depth, with that scary offense and they’re also very good defensively, I think that can really elevate them to a Game 6 win. That’s what I had entering the series.”

As a coach, what can David Blatt do at this point? He doesn’t have the horses to run with the Warriors, but is he completely powerless? Or can he do things from an X’s-and-O’s standpoint to turn the series in the Cavs’ favor?

That remains to be seen, but Zwerling thinks Cleveland just needs to start hitting shots. The Cavs shot just 33.0 percent from the floor in Game 4, with LeBron James, Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert combining to shoot 14-of-57 (24.6 percent).

“I thought the Cavaliers could have made some of those shots,” Zwerling said. “If you go back and watch the tape in the second half, they definitely missed a lot of shots, which the Warriors did in Game 3. In a lot of ways, this series has been shot-making. In that third and fourth quarter, the Cavaliers were getting open threes. They were getting it right to the basket and missing some (easy) layups. They could be in that game down that stretch. I’m not saying the Cavaliers played bad defensively. I’m just saying that they definitely had more lapses. I think their depth is an issue.

“As far as how David Blatt can counter that, it’s about trust a little bit,” Zwerling continued. “Shawn Marion, Mike Miller – James Jones playing. Some of these bench guys are healthy. They’re not just sitting there injured. They’re versatile, veteran players. I think a little added minutes could help the Cavaliers at this point.”

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