For online betting action in the NBA Finals, Stephen Curry was good, but Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala were great for the Warriors. On the opposite end, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love were good, but LeBron James was amazing for the Cavaliers. So, why then did Golden State win the Finals? One reason… Steve Kerr was in a plateau of his own, tailoring and tweaking his team to unsettle Cleveland in ways only a brave and well-calculated coach could do.
Speaking after the loss, LeBron admitted that, “Coach Kerr did a great job of mixing the lineup.”
In Game 5, Kerr was at it again, keeping most of his Bigs out of the game and playing a starting lineup with no true center for the second consecutive game. The Cavs, looking to match the Warriors, adjusted their lineup by taking out Mozgov, who had in fact been their best player in Game 4. And the adjustment worked straight into Kerr’s trap, with Curry and Co. lighting up the scoreboard from all over. In the end, LeBron had a triple-double of 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but the Warriors (led by a 37-point performance from Curry) won the Game 104-91.
Finally in Game 6, it was a mixture of everything, with Kerr simply talking up his players into being confident and having fun. By the time J.R. Smith was coming alive in the fourth quarter, draining ridiculous threes, the game was all gone.
In the three games (starting from Game 4), Kerr had not only found a way to absorb LeBron’s heavy punches, but he had also mastered a working formula to stun the Cavs twice at the Q. Moreover, in those three games, he had riskily plucked out Bogut from the starting line-up, replacing him with Iguodala (a consistent reserve throughout the season). And in the end, Iguodala did his job to perfection, earning himself the highly coveted NBA Finals MVP award, ahead of usual starters like Curry, Thompson, Green and even the outstanding LeBron.
Of course, this was a win for the Warriors as a team, a win for the management, a win for the fans, but more importantly, it was a big win for the young Kerr, a rookie coach who stood tall in ways that many experienced coaches have failed to do. With the standards set so high, it is now time for other coaches to follow suit, or find ways picking a leaf or two from Kerr as they seek to write their own histories.
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