NBA Finals: Warriors’ Lack of Aggressiveness Could Cost them the Series

By Vincent Frank

If it seems like every single loose ball through the first three games of the NBA Finals is going the Cleveland Cavaliers way, that’s because it’s exactly what’s happening.

It might be a lack of hustle on the Warriors’ part, but it’s also hard to deny just how much of an impact backup Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova is having from that standpoint.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

Those words, once uttered by Abraham Lincoln, define the first three games of this series to a T. It appears that the Warriors are sitting around waiting for something to happen while Cleveland is being the aggressor. That’s a complete switch from a regular season that saw the Warriors win 67 games by simply outplaying opponents. It almost seems like the Warriors expect good things to happen.

If Golden State is going to win, it needs to match the intensity and aggression we have seen from the Eastern Conference champs through three games. Up until this point, that simply has not happened. 

That might come from Draymond Green, who has been among the most aggressive players in the Association this year. However, the league’s MVP needs to set the table here. Stephen Curry hasn’t just been outplayed by Dellavedova the past two games, the Cavaliers guard has outworked him.

To put the larger issue into perspective, LeBron James shot as many free throws (12) as the Warriors in Game 3. While some of that obviously has to do with home cooking on the officials part, it goes to show us who has been more aggressive in this series. Gone are the days that Steve Kerr and company can throw Harrison Barnes out there to play nonchalant defense against James. That’s just not going to work moving forward. They need to dial up the defensive pressure quite a bit more as the series progresses.  

We can talk about execution until we are blue in the face here. That will keep the Warriors in the series. It won’t, however, earn them the trophy. They need to be as scrappy as the Cavaliers. They need to show real hustle on the court. They need to change the pace of the game. They need to become the aggressor. And in reality, that’s the only way that Steve Kerr’s squad is going to dig itself out of the hole here.

If not, LeBron James will be hoisting his third NBA championship trophy while the Warriors go home for the season with only themselves to blame for the disappointment.

Photo: USA Today Sports