Sports | June 8, 2018 4:10 pm

Here’s How the Cavaliers Can Avoid Being Swept

Cleveland's bench players will need to step up to extend the NBA Finals past Game 4.

LeBron James
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Golden State Warriors in the second half during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 6, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Unless the Cavaliers change things up, their season will end tonight in Cleveland.

It would be easy to let that happen as the Golden State Warriors are clearly the better team and have the four best players in the NBA Finals (Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green)—other than LeBron James.

That said, if the Cavaliers opt to make things hard for the Warriors and attempt to avoid getting swept, they are going to need some of their bench players to elevate their play to a level that approaches Golden State’s stars, at least for one night.

The first of those players who needs to find a higher gear is Kyle Korver. A deadly shooter, Korver only has four points in the first three games of the series. For the Cavaliers to have a chance, he will need to shoot from deep when he is on the floor and make at least half of his shots. This season, Cleveland is 8-1 in the playoffs when Korver’s point total hits double figures.

Rodney Hood is another guy candidate. Seeing his first action in Game 3, Hood finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. If he can replicate that performance in Game 4, that will go a long way to helping the Cavs win it.

Should Korver and Hood do their part, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love also need to improve. For Thompson, he needs to hit the glass more than he has in the previous three games, in which he has just 17 rebounds combined.

For Love, his scoring and rebounding have been good, as he’s averaged 21 and 12 in the series thus far. The adjustment he needs to make is on the defensive end, where he needs to be more aggressive.

Even if the Cavs do all that, and LeBron James keeps on doing LeBron James things, it’s probably too little, too late. But at least they’ll avoid being swept.