Does Blatt need to extend his rotation?


VIDEO: Media availability: David Blatt addresses the media on Saturday

OAKLAND — The 2015 Finals are tied 2-2, but it seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers are behind.

Not only have they lost the home-court advantage they had gained with a win in Game 2, but the Golden State Warriors’ win in Game 4 was, by far, the most decisive decision in this series. And it was the game where the Cavs’ lack of depth became abundantly clear.

All the signs pointed to the Cavs running out of gas on Thursday. The biggest indication was their shooting from outside the paint, where they were a brutal 6-for-45, unable to keep up with an improved Golden State offense.

The break between Games 4 and 5 provides an extra day of rest. But Cavs coach David Blatt has to be thinking of extending his rotation either way. Not only did the Cavs shoot poorly in Game 4, but their offense has struggled late in games throughout the series.

The Cavs have shot just 16-for-76 (21 percent) from outside the restricted area in the fourth quarter and overtime thus far in the series. The Warriors have won the four fourth quarters by a combined 30 points.

20150613_cle_shooting

So even if the Cavs are fresher to start Game 5 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ABC), Blatt has to worry about how his team is feeling down the stretch. And he has to consider the idea of using an eighth guy in his rotation – most likely Shawn Marion or Mike Miller – even if for just 5-10 minutes over the course of the game.

The question is if the Cavs can afford to rest James more than the 4:45 per game that he’s rested thus far. The Cavs have been outscored by 11 points in 183 minutes with James on the floor, but also by 11 in just 19 minutes with him on the bench.

James has played the most minutes in the series obviously, but other Cavs are logging more time than they’re used to. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova have been pushed into the starting lineup, and everybody has been asked to do more with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving out.

Marion and Miller each have championship experience, but are 37 and 35 years old respectively. Marion has played just 25 minutes over six games in the postseason. Miller got some rotation minutes in Games 2 and 3, but wasn’t seen until garbage time on Thursday.

When the Cavs met with the media on Saturday, Blatt didn’t indicate either way if he’d go deeper in his rotation.

“We’ve got a lot of experienced players on our roster,” he said, “and a lot of guys have been through these battles before. Some of the guys have not played a whole lot. Our results have been pretty good as we’ve been playing. But, again, I believe in those guys and their ability to step in, if necessary, and do what needs to be done.”

James is just happy that Game 5 wasn’t on Saturday.

“Any little rest you can get throughout the postseason run, I mean, it’s like a lifeline,” James said. “For us to be able to get this extra day to mentally and physically prepare for tomorrow night or tomorrow day is definitely helpful.”

We’ll find out Sunday if the extra day was enough for the Cavs to refuel, or if Game 4 was a true indication of where this series is going.

40 Comments

  1. anothercavsfan says:

    You have to appreciate what the Cavs have done for 3 games and 3 quarters of game 4,

    They stuck with it more than any other team did against Golden State in these playoffs.

    Even if they get blown by 40 the next 2 games, they deserve to keep their head up.

    This is what makes the NBA fun. Competition. And it’s not a competition if teams aren’t giving it their all.

  2. Cooper Mapes says:

    I will admit that would be amazing, but is completely unreasonable. I doubt Durant would ever come to Cleveland… But hey, I’ve heard rumors that Dwayne Wade isn’t interested in staying with the Heat, and may want to reunite with LeBron. Can you imagine that? Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade all on one team. The Cavs would be THE team to beat in the upcoming years.

  3. J RoC says:

    XYZ said with KD this series would be over…how many times has KD won a ring???

  4. SPURS says:

    What coach Blatt did with this roster is absolutely a miracle.

    Look at the Cavs “healthy” roster… these are a bunch of D-League players that are now tied 2-2 with the best team in the NBA.

    The Cavs cannot win this series, but its good preparation for taking the title next year (with Kyre and Love).

    Same story happened to San Antonio when they lost the title to the Heat only to take it big time a year later.

  5. Rick says:

    I wish the Cavs could rely more on their bench, but so far Marion, Miller and Perkins have all been awful both in the regular season and in the playoffs.

  6. drago says:

    The Cavs need to win this game no matter what.

  7. Dan says:

    Give me a break, you guys have no clue. David took a team that was just put together this season, he is playing without his two stars, he is being confronted by haters from the media every day, but still he brought this team to the finals and he is tie now with the best team in the NBA. There was never a better coach in his first year in NBA history that managed to get to this point with so many obstacles.

    • Stan says:

      Is that really all because of the Coach? His time-outs(or lack there of) and play calling (also lack there-of) have be thinking there could be something else your neglecting to mention that’s making the Cavs win.

  8. CavsFan says:

    Let’s go Cavs! I say if the Cavs win this game, they win the series.

  9. spurs10 says:

    Shooting 14.8% from 3 was a recipe for disaster. Surely Miller is an improvement over that. I expect to see both Miller and Marion in this game.

  10. BIG-GAME-JAMES-23 says:

    Blast needed to expand his rotation a long time ago.

    This reminds of what happened to Miami in the finals last year. Spoelstra refused to play more than 7 players, and look at that turned out for them…

    I give credit to Kerr for taking the risk and trusting his bench, Blatt needs to do the same. You can’t just keep throwing the same guys out there, because pretty soon the other team knows what to expect form each players tendencies.

    I think this will be Miller / Marions game, as well as JR finally getting hot like he did against Chicago when he hit 8 3’s.

    Cavs in 6

    • C4 says:

      I don’t think it matters if Blatt plays someone else on that bench in game 6. No one on that bench can create their own shot. The only two Cavs who are doing that are LBJ and Smith. Miller spotting up won’t be any different than Jr and shump doing so. Marion is the same, and you can even use him to guard Curry cause curry will destroy him. So you can use them to give lebron a brief rest, but by the time lebron comes back in, they be down another 10pts or so

  11. Jackie Messina says:

    You have to rotate ! If you have someone that can come in for 5 min . The team will feel the boost of energy! I don’t have a player to send in ( wrong) . You always have a couple of players that practice together. Tonight I would start my starters then during the slow down . I would change to a set that practice together. You can always tell which player wants to play. AcE

  12. R E E says:

    Better minute management should definitely be a high priority for Blatt. Game 4 was a rest game for James.
    Same story. He’s going to need help

  13. Milich says:

    What bench? Perkins. Haywood, Marion, Miller?

  14. bdodell2 says:

    I find it hard to believe that Shawn Marion has literally nothing to offer the Cavs in the Finals. I think Blatt has to give him at least five minutes in the second quarter of Game Two to see if he can make an impact. Miller too, has, in my opinion, played well with his limited time on the court. Granted, the Cavs have been rolling in the games he’s come into, but I thought they could have done more with him in Game Four.

  15. xyz says:

    such a great coach. too bad he’s stuck with crybaby diva lebron who ain’t able to step out of the spotlight. If he had durant for example, this series would be over

    • Stan says:

      You’re right they would’ve lost in 4 games. Quit being such a hater. You may not like him personally, but he is the greatest player the game has EVER seen. let a lone Durant who couldn’t even get a team with Westbrook and Ibaka into the playoffs, even taking into consideration the ‘injuries’ to his toe

  16. LemW says:

    Cavs Coach should stay with the same rotation and game plan.
    Cavs center Timofrey Mozgov must step up and score at least 35 points.
    Mozgov can score jump shots because he has shot well from the foul line.
    When post up, Mozgov mistake is dribbling.
    Mozgov turn and shoot or turn, push off with non-shooting arm and shoot.
    Once the Warrior adjust their defense Cavs will be open.
    The traditional offense of LeBron James will not win the game.
    Proof is last season NBA finals Andre Iguodala is Kawhi Leonard; then
    there is weak side help or double team.
    As I said Timofrey Mozgov is the key.

  17. Boudewijn Delaere says:

    hallo

    Curry MVP ? just a ( good ) 3 point shooter

    JAMES, DURANT , WESTBROOK are real MVP’s

  18. they should play perkins and bench mozgov the entire game LOL

  19. sports fan says:

    LeBron is the coach of this team so he takes the blame for not going deep on the bench.

  20. RobertoFelipe says:

    Seems very obvious to me that Coach Blatt is not in the same league as his opposing rookie coach Steve Kerr. You may note that in at least one game this Finals Series, every player who was dressed for the warriors played and if i am not mistaken actually scored as well. Shaun Marion must be really wondering why he hasn’t been asked to contribute on the court; I believe that will change in this upcoming Game 5. I hope he scores and i know he will defend well, it will be a fitting conclusion to his excellent career if he can play in the remaining 3 games.

  21. Donny Lutz says:

    ibj23cav-

    Do you mean like Miami won ten titles in a row when LeBron went to the loaded Heat?

    A healthy Thunder team is arguably the best team in the league. Why would you trade your two best players when you are in such a great position?

  22. I'm surprised Blatt hasn't.. says:

    used both Marion & Miller in the last couple of games, at least. I don’t get that the team is clearly short-handed, and clearly running on empty – and yet Blatt seems bent on not putting Marion and Miller in to give valuable rest minutes to Lebron, JR, Thomas, and Schumpert… it really makes no sense at all :/

  23. Ten says:

    Whoever wins Game 5 will win the series.

  24. Name says:

    would help if half his bench wasnt out for injury…

  25. Jack says:

    it is needed at this point, he must counter his enemy, he must trust his men, Cavs will win game 5..

  26. david says:

    There are very few individuals in the world that are NBA caliber. David Blatt has 12 to 15 of those gifted people to work with. He will have to learn how to utilize and trust all of them over the course of a season before he understands how to master the NBA.

  27. david says:

    Although I think that David Blatt has the potential to be a premier NBA coach, this season he showed his rookie colors by seldom utilizing and trusting his full rotation. If you you at the early regular season, he was using 8 to 9 man rotations. Now fast forward to the NBA Finals and Blatt’s end of bench is rusty and not game conditioned. I don’t care if they are old, they are more than capable of contributing for a small run of games and playoff savvy. Bottom line, although missing several key players, the Cavs are not nearly as depleted as they appear had they utilized their bench during the regular season.

  28. lbj23cav says:

    lebron the king will win a ring this series. after the season we will trade jones and a 1st rounder for kevin durant and westbrook.
    lineup

    lebron
    durant
    westbrook
    irving
    love
    6 man dellevadova

    with this lineup the king will win 10 straight

    • Harriethehawk says:

      Imagine Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving playing together in tandem? Not.

    • blh4795 says:

      Yea! Is that even legal? LOL – that would be awesome!

    • ats7284@gmail.com says:

      What you smoking the thunder isn’t giving up both their stars and yes he should been using at least Marion for defense and spreading the floor on offense,the man has been there before,Jr Smith is disengaged

    • Saeed says:

      Excuse me sir,
      Can I ask where you are coming from and what your level of education is?
      This is just a childish think man.

    • sports fan says:

      The only way to get Durant & Westbrook is to trade LeBron for them. But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

  29. bballjunkie1 says:

    Blatt will have to if his guards continue to shoot 3’s. The three will be there but a head fake and some pull up 2’s are better than nothing and GS is off to the races on fast breaks. Putting their heads down and going inside, there is all kinds of havoc they could cause. I remember Magic saying it wasn’t until they put their heads down went inside, took punishment could they beat Boston on parquet floor. Under manned Blatt doesn’t have many options. Cause Golden State is fired up.

    • Asante says:

      For every action there’s a reaction, pump the breaks WARRIOR fan!

    • djMamBa says:

      Most playoffs use a 7-8 man rotation in the finals.. However, if people are shooting horrribly like Shump/Smith WHICH was expected. They are inconsistent, and it was obvious this was going to show after they played so well in the last few series.. Should’ve use Marion some more for defense, and Miller for offense..