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Random dribbles on the Cavaliers entering Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday vs. the Golden State Warriors.
1. Let’s start with the game. The Cavs’ plan is to turn up the physicality to try to stay alive. Nothing dirty, and nothing that may be all that noticeable from a fan’s point of view. But they want to let the Warriors know they are there.
2. For all the talk of the Warriors being a flashy and splashy 3-point shooting team, they actually have been the Cavs’ most physical opponent this year. They will bump, scratch, pull and claw — most of the time within the rules. Up until this point, the Cavs have just sort of accepted it.
3. Cavs center Tristan Thompson is the first name that comes to mind. He’s been abused by the Warriors’ big men underneath and become totally irrelevant in the series. He averaged 9.2 rebounds during the regular season, but is at just 3.7 in three Finals games. It is basically as if the Cavs are playing four-on-five on offense.
4. The Cavs didn’t immediately notice Warriors guard Steph Curry’s squatting motion after Kevin Durant hit the huge 3-pointer late in Game 3. But they saw it after watching film, and a team source told Amico Hoops several Cavs are very aware and found Curry’s act very disrespectful. “It won’t be forgotten come Friday night,” the source said.
5. Read: As is the case whenever one team trails a series 3-0, the referees are on high alert.
6. A column by Chris Mannix on The Vertical suggested the Warriors are about to become a dynasty and there isn’t anything the Cavs can do about it. The column is titled, “Cavs are cooked — now and forever.”
7. The Cavs don’t agree with the “forever” part, but there is indeed a strong belief from ownership/management that they do need to make something happen this offseason. Mostly, yes, because of the Warriors. But they’re also very aware that the Eastern Conference is improving as a whole.
8. But with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the Cavs feel as if they just need to do a better job of filling in around the gaps. Will they explore trading Love, as so many have suggested? The short answer is it’s hard to say for sure right now — but it wouldn’t be a big surprise. At the very least, opposing teams always call about Love during trade season, and the Cavs always listen.
9. As mentioned in the previous dribbles, the Cavs will have to sign general manager David Griffin before getting too involved in any sort of trade talks.
10. Assuming that happens and Griffins returns, yes, they understand they have some pressing roster issues. The plan is to get right to work.
11. So far, that plan consists of making a pair of moves to supply them with another star quality player, sources told AmicoHoops. But it doesn’t appear the ball will start rolling on that until closer to the NBA draft on June 22.
12. For now, though, the Cavs’ plan is to fight to stay alive in the Finals. Tip-off is 9 p.m. at The Q.