"Why do the Cavs switch so easily?" Here's why.

There have been a great deal of people complaining about the Cavs switching Kevin Durant so easily and consistently last night as Durant was on his way to a monstrous 43 point night while needing just 26(!!!!!) shot equivalents to get there.

Random people on twitter posing this question is understandable, Durant single-handedly shredded the Cavs in game 3 so it would make sense. But whether it be Mark Jackson on the broadcast or profesional poop-stain Skip Bayless on twitter, it is not as simple as simply "fighting through" the screen.

Here is why:


See this play? The Warriors are totally committed to getting Kevin Love on Kevin Durant. LeBron gets around the screen two different times. But they keep coming, and with the ball in Iguodala's hands he then slips the screen for an open dunk.

It is worth mentioning that the Cavs could've defended this better. Rodney Hood should've helped off of Draymond Green, but he had only just switched off of Klay Thompson and doesn't react in time. 

That is really the biggest point here. If everyone reacts perfectly behind this play you can survive it, but the reality is that perfection is impossible. The Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and have been for several years now. They basically invented the switch-heavy scheme that dominated much of the playoffs this year and have a roster littered with elite defenders. Even so, they allow Steph Curry to get switched onto LeBron consistently, the reason being that it is just simpler that way. If the Warriors are worried about making all of the correct rotations and reads, then there is no way this Cavs team is going to be able to do it consistently.

This is, in a vacuum, why it is so unfair to have Kevin Durant on this Warriors team. With most great teams you have to make choices that are not comfortable. Choosing the lesser of two evils. Before Durant arrived, the way to combat this Warriors team was to switch everything, overplay Steph to shoot threes, and make them beat you as a drive and kick team. Curry is still great at that, but he doesn't draw a lot of fouls and can be turnover prone, so even if it isn't a great option and the Warriors can beat you like that, it is clearly preferable to them bombing threes.

Now, if you force that, the Warriors are hitting you with one of the greatest walking mismatches to ever live. It isn't as simple as "fight through the screen." They will screen and rescreen until there is one mistake. These are the Warriors. With the death lineup in, they have 3 of the best shooters to ever live, and two of the best playmaking wing/big players in the NBA on the floor. If one of Iggy/Draymond is the screener (which is most of the time) then you have one guy you can help off of, and that guy is still a great playmaker. If you do not switch everything, you are giving up open dunks or open threes. It isn't "Fight through and make perfect rotations every play for 48 minutes." The 04 Pistons couldn't do that against this Warriors team. You choose between Kevin Durant attacking Kevin Love and George Hill in isolation or giving up open dunks and threes. Those are your choices. Either way you lose, and that is why Durant makes this Warriors team invincible. He had a poor Western Conference Finals (by his lofty standards) and literally set a record for points in the Conference Finals. 

In the end, the Cavs made the right call most of the night to just switch everything. You take Durant going isolation constantly and hoping he misses to giving up wide open dunks and threes because that is when the Warriors become a raging ball of death that will destroy everything in site. Essentially try and make the game LeBron vs. Durant. The problem is that Kevin Durant is the only man alive who can go toe to toe with LeBron and come out on top with anything amounting to consistency. 

Obvoiusly this is not to absolve LeBron and the Cavs here. There have been too many defensive breakdowns, and LeBron has not always been up to his standards. But the whole "why are they switching so easily" is just wrong. 

Joseph Sinke