1. How much will Kevin Love play, if at all?
As of this writing Kevin Love's status for playing Game Four is up in the air as he is still in the league's concussion protocol. The Cavaliers played much better basketball without Love on the court, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a coincidence. With Richard Jefferson taking Love's place in the lineup that Cavs were able to switch much more reliably on screens, leaving fewer open looks the Warriors.
Watching Richard Jefferson contribute so much in this series has been inspirational, but as these Finals go on there is almost certainly going to be a drop off in the 35 year olds efficiency. Eventually Love is going to be cleared by the league to play, and the Cavs are going to have to find the right places to fit Love into the rotation. We've already seen that playing Love and Irving together on the floor is kin to suicide from a defensive perspective.
Will Tryonn Lue opt to bring Love off the bench to play center in small second unit lineup? Channing Frye has not been particular effective this series, and you don't have to worry as much about Love getting nuked on pick and rolls when you have Dellavedova in the game and can slip under screens set for Shaun Livingston. Love could add some much needed scoring to the Cavs bench, as even in the blowout their bench unit only came up with 15 points.
2. How do the Warriors adjust to LeBron guarding Draymond Green?
At this point the cat is out of the bag about how to shut down Golden States vaunted death lineup. Of all the adjustments made in Game Three none was bigger than Tyronn Lue moving LeBron James on to Draymond Green. Green wreaked havoc in Game Two, scoring 28 points in 34 minutes but in Game Three, LeBron held Green to only six point on 2-of-8 shooting. When Lebron starts a possession defending Draymond, it considerably weakens the Green-Curry pick-and-roll because James can just switch on to Curry, and the defense does not break. James has the size and athleticism to hang with Steph. The Thunder proved that you can gum up the works of this vaunted offense by switching athletic bigs on the splash brothers, but eventually Steph and Klay exposed these mismatches by going to the rim more, I expect to see the same pattern form tonight.
There are other ways for Golden State to get around this. They can set multiple screens on LeBron, and initial screen to get him off of Green, then a second screen with Green and Curry that does not involve James. Opposing teams have made life difficult on Curry by running him through a lot of screens, and I think the Warriors should adopt the same policy towards LeBron. James is not immune to breaking down over the course of a series, and Golden State should make him work on every defensive possession. They need to be more patient in their offensive sets, and not get frustrated when the initial actions don't lead to easy baskets.
3. How much will Bogut play?
Everybody on the Warriors had a bad game Wednesday, including Coach Kerr. If Kerr has a glaring weakness as a coach it is a reluctance to adapt his usual player rotations to changing circumstances. The Cavaliers went small in Game Three with LeBron playing power foward and Thristan Thompson at center. They were able to do this because Andrew Bogut is not dangerous enough on offense to crush Thompson on the block. Having Bogut on the court just leaves one less shooter for Cleveland to worry about. It allows them to hide Irving and Jefferson on defense, and with Tristan Thompson being a rebounding monster they lose nothing on the glass. Bogut only played 12 minutes in Game Three but was -21 in the time he was on the court. That's a number the champs can not live with.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Kerr start Game Four with the Death Lineup of Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Iguodala and Green. This makes Golden State much more dangerous on offense and gets Iguodala on to James early, making life a lot harder on the King. Going with the death lineup right off the back puts the Cavs on the defensive. Having another shooter on the court makes life that much harder for Kyrie Irving, who is liable to get lost in the weave of screens the champs like to run with their smaller lineups. There is a trade off to going small, they will almost certainly give up a ton of offensive rebounds, but they gave up 17 offensive rebounds in Game Three with Bogut and Varjao both getting minutes.
4. Will Steph Curry play better, to spite the internet for hating on his new shoe?
If you have access to the Twitter app and happen to follow someone who is even tagentially involved in the NBA, then you are probably aware of the cyber dogpile that hoop heads had on the Steph's new shoe, the Curry Two Lows.
Get a look at these ugly ass shoes.
Curry has been off his game ever since his injury in the Portland series, and for the first time in two years the general basketball loving public has had less than stellar things to say about the back-to-back MVP. Things have been pretty rough for Curry lately. He is only scoring 16 points in the Finals, and is averaging almost as many turnovers (five) as made field Goals (5.7) against the Cavs. This probably was not the best time to announce a new shoe, but I'm guessing something as big as a billion dollar shoe marketing campaign doesn't take these things into consideration. This has all led to a perfect storm of internet memes, including this treasure:
I have no fashion sense, and even I can see that these look like shoes that were designed by a 12 year old who really loves watching Sports Center. I get that they are designed to be sold to kids, and for all I know they will sell like hotcakes, because kids will wear anything if it makes them feel cool. Remember when everyone under the 18 were wearing these to school?
The MVP has been bad, but there are a couple of things he has going for him going into Game Four. There is no way that Curry can play any worse than he is right now, and given the law of averages, we should see some of the shots he's been missing go in from here on out. We already saw this a bit in the second half of Game Three in which he had 17 points and hit 3-of-6 on three pointers.
Here's the thing about Curry that everyone is still struggling to get their head around: he takes really bad shots, and makes enough of them to win most games. You can show every Curry shot in the last couple of weeks and the makes will not look much different from the misses. For all of the talk about match-ups or X's and O's it really comes down to whether or not Steph is going to make those five to ten game breaking shots that completely destroys the opposing team.
For all of the talk about how humble Stephen Curry is, we have seen him delight in ripping the heart out of opposing teams fanbases. He is nothing if not a cold blooded assassin, and after taking a beating on the internet the last 24 hours I have a feeling that the Cavs are in for a rough night. Hell hath nor fury like a man who has just been meme'd.