It’s no coincidence that Andre Iguodala entering the Warriors starting line-up in Game 4 during last year’s Finals resulted in the Warriors winning the last three games of the series.
The ‘Death Line-up’ as it is referred to by the media consists of Stephen Curry, Tristan Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green and that unit, when starting in last year’s Finals series outscored the Cavaliers 154-126 in 70 minutes of basketball.
It’s not just on offensive end the ’Death Line-up’ deliver, they also able to hold Cleveland to just 88.0 points per 100 possessions.
Even though that same ‘Death Line-up’ struggled uncharacteristically against Oklahoma City in games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference last week, the Warriors were able to get over Curry being manhandled, Green’s despondence after being portraye as a ‘dirty player’ and bouts of poor shooting by Thompson to reclaim their dominance.
As games 6 and 7 in the Western Conference Finals showed, when the ‘Death Line-up’ is on the floor, more often than not the Warriors are walking away victorious.
It’s no coincidence that Cleveland’s only two losses during this postseason came during a Kevin Love’s scoring drought where he averaged only 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.
During the Cavs post-season losses Love manages a minus -5 for productivity. In the team’s 12 postseason wins Love averaged an impressive 19.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, taking over games at times, and was a +13.3 as a result.
When Love he’s engaged offensively and active on the glass, the Cavs have an unstoppable one-two punch with Love and LeBron James and so far victory has generally followed.
It’s no coincidence that we see some Australian basketball talent in the NBA Finals this year. In a league filled with superstars and players who only turn up during a contract year the blue collar attitude and never say die attitude of Australian basketballer’s have seem them become an integral part of NBA teams success.
Over the past three seasons every team lucky enough to have made it to the NBA Finals has had an Australian on its roster.
With the Cavaliers and the Warriors facing each other in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals Australian basketball fans will be looking to see what impact Australian Boomers teammates Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut will have for their respective teams.
Last year the Cavaliers claimed victory in Game 2 after Dellavedova was able to hold Curry to a woeful 22% shooting performance.
The Warriors ultimately won the series, but it was in part due to Bogut’s willingness to sacrifice his minutes to Iguodala and the ‘Death Line-up’, something many NBA stars wouldn’t.
Can Dellavedova shut down Curry for four games?
Delly has more experience guarding the “Splash Brothers” Curry and Thompson than any other play on the roster and when Cleveland have needed a cool head Dellavedova has regular risen to the occasion.
Will Bogut see more action from the bench as Golden State play small ball?
Bogut paid the price for that small line-up, giving up the majority of his minutes – and most people, including Bogut himself, are predicting the same will happen again.
“I anticipate it being a small ball series,” Bogut said.
“That’s fine. I’ll have my spots in the series where I need to come out and play a role.”
Bogut’s Golden State Warriors host the first game of the best-of-seven championship series against Dellavedova’s Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday (AEST) at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
The winner of this series won’t be a result of coincidences or pot luck, these teams have been working towards this rematch for a year… and it’s going to be a hell of a series.
This post has been presented by Unibet, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.