This series might not be getting prettier. Here’s three things we learned from Cavaliers-Pacers Game 4 as the Cavaliers evened the series.
1. Tyronn Lue will go down with the guys he trusts
Here are the minute leaders for Cavaliers in Game 4
- LeBron James - 46
- J.R. Smith - 35
- Kevin Love - 29
- Kyle Korver - 26
- Jeff Green - 24
What does this mean? It means, aside from Tristan Thompson, who was unearthed for seven semi-productive minutes, Tyronn Lue will roll with the players who he feels most confident in. Larry Nance, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson had their moments in the post-trade deadline push, but they clearly never established themselves as players Ty Lue felt he could trust. It doesn’t help that many of the Cavaliers younger role players haven’t played particularly well, but they also likely won’t get a chance this season.
2. Kyle Korver is a craftsman and his impact extends beyond making shots
Korver shouldn’t be this important to the Cavaliers success, but here we stand. We know that Korver is an unbelievable shooter that has generated some of the little scoring punch the Cavaliers have gotten in the four game so far this series.
He hit two of the biggest threes in Game 4, but he had the Pacers so shook that he allowed LeBron James to stroll into the lane unimpeded with the ball.
LeBron goes right at Bojan. Screening action on the weak side occupied the help, tough not to worry about Korver right after he had hit a pair of 3s #TwitterNBAShow https://t.co/MuQrLMes4Y pic.twitter.com/1KukFPIw70— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) April 23, 2018
Korver took a minute to get ingratiated into the Cavaliers lineup, but he’s showing what a pro he really is. He’s the perfect complement to LeBron James offensively, and still is somehow better defensively than he has any right to be. The Cavaliers have their best defensive rating with Korver on the court, allowing the Pacers to score just 96.8 points per 100 possessions.
That three-year, $22 million deal is looking like a steal.
3. The Cavaliers are making headway in slowing down Victor Oladipo
The Pacers offense goes as Victor Oladipo goes, and the Cavs have done a much better job on the star guard in the last two games.
In two games in Cleveland, Oladipo tallied 54 points on 20-37 shooting from the field.
In Indiana, it was a different story. He only scored 35 points on 10-35 shooting from the field as the Cavaliers sent hard blitzes and double teams at him in the pick and roll. More than anything schematically, the Cavaliers have done a much better job at an individual level. J.R. Smith specifically has defended in a way that seemed inconceivable over the course of this season.
Smith has another level defensively when he’s fully engaged, and his active hands have bothered Oladipo off the dribble. Oladipo might find his rhythm as this series plays on, but for now, the Cavaliers are in control.