Random dribbles on the Cavaliers entering Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Golden State on Monday.
1. The Cavs believe there are two ways to beat the Warriors: Size, and physicality. They don’t have much of the former, as starting center Tristan Thompson stands 6-foot-9. Power forward Kevin Love is 6-10 and reserve Channing Frye is 6-11, but neither will ever be confused with a Shaquille O’Neal-like inside presence. Frye is more like a really tall shooting guard.
2. So the Cavs plan to go gung-ho on the physicality. Coach Tyronn Lue told the media Sunday that the Cavs can be “too nice.” He thought they were a little tougher in Game 4 — and wants them to take it up another notch.
3. This isn’t to imply the Warriors are a bunch of softies. They’re actually the most physical team the Cavs have faced. It’s why Lue finds it so important to match them, blow by thankless blow.
4. Of course, the Cavs actually do have some size sitting there. And 7-foot-3 center Edy Tavares has been begging to play. But it would be hard to use him at this point — as he has compiled just 14 minutes of garbage time in two regular-season games. Nor has he appeared in the playoffs.
5. There’s also the matter of Tavares’ fractured hand, an injury that occurred in early May. Tavares had the hand checked by doctors Friday. No word yet on the results.
6. In other news of little-used reserves, forward Derrick Williams is staying ready in the event the Cavs’ increase in physical play results in foul trouble. That is something the team totally expects to happen now that it has again hit the road — where officials can occasionally (often?) be influenced to make calls against you.
7. As you’ve been reminded at least 274 times by now, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 hole. The only time a Finals team even forced a Game 7 when trailing 3-0? According to my friend Rick Noland of the Medina Gazette, the answer is 1951 — when the Dick McGuire-led New York Knicks stormed back to tie the series against Arnie Risen and the Rochester Royals. The Royals won the deciding game, though.
8. As an aside, that was also the only championship for the franchise now known as the Sacramento Kings. And you think your favorite team has had a title drought …
9. We’ve all seen the reports lately. They say LeBron James will consider leaving the Cavaliers next summer to play for one of the franchises in Los Angeles. Why? Well, no real reason is given. But the national media has said and written it, so it must be true.
10. Meanwhile, the Cavs aren’t all that concerned. In fact, the general belief within the organization is James is OK with the LA rumors — simply to keep Cavs owner Dan Gilbert from getting too comfortable. If Gilbert is a little uneasy, the theory goes, then he will have to continue spending and building the roster. That way James stays satisfied. And in Cleveland.
11. Finally, LeBron said he likes the idea of 3-0n-3 basketball in the Olympics, but that it’s not for him. J.R. Smith, on the other hand, suggests that a couple of his Cavs teammates do sign up. Here’s the quick report.