Mears: What’s Going on With the Cavs’ Role Players?
Pictured: J.R. Smith and LeBron James. Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
It may not seem like it because of the final score, but a lot of what the Cavaliers did right in Game 4 carried over into Game 5. In non-garbage time (per Cleaning the Glass), Boston scored just 88.6 points per 100 possessions in the half court and finished only 11-of-26 (42.3%) from the rim.
One of the big differences was the home whistle: After drawing just three fouls at the rim in Game 4, the Celtics drew nine in Game 5.
There’s honestly not a whole lot left to analyze in this series. Both teams stink on the road, and in Game 5 Cleveland scored 85.1 points/100 overall and 80.8/100 in the half court. They continued to push off live rebounds but pretty much had no success in the transition game, which I said before Game 5 was an area of critical need for improvement from Boston. And, of course, the role players’ shooting woes continued: Kevin Love and JR Smith combined to go just 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
That said, there’s room for optimism for Cavs backers, although you probably don’t need it considering how they’ve played at home. The Celtics continued their playoff-long odd streak of excellent 3-point defensive luck in Game 5: The Cavaliers got up a whopping 14 three-pointers that were classified as “open” by NBA Stats — a defender 4-6 feet away — but hit just three of them. The Celtics, on the other hand, went 46.7% on such shots. That will likely reverse in Game 6 in favor of the Cavaliers, but then it’ll probably reverse back for Game 7. Who knows? This is a weird freaking series. I hope CP3 is healthy.