In writing about why the Golden State Warriors' elite defense would allow them to compete with just about any of the league's all-time best teams, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group articulated the problem the Cleveland Cavaliers have faced in the 2016 NBA Finals.
The problem for Cleveland is their three best offensive players can't get good shots in the half court.
The Cavaliers rely heavily on the playmaking of their stars to create offense for the rest of their team. But the Warriors are great at defending isolation ball. They shifted the tide in the Western Conference finals by coaxing Durant and Westbrook into isolations, which is how the Cavaliers do their damage.
You see how it works: LeBron or Kyrie Irving break down their man, forcing the defense to collapse, and Love and J.R. Smith feast on the open shots that result.
But the Warriors' defense doesn't need to collapse. And they play multiple perimeter players with a good combination of quickness and length, so they can get a hand up on most shots.
What Thompson wrote is pretty much what Coach Nick of BBallBreakdown said in his video analysis about how the Warriors and Cavs run their respective offenses (above) — the Warriors' use of ball and player movement simply puts them a level above the Cavs independent of how much talent they have available.
So if you're looking for hope in the face of Draymond Green's suspension, this isn't a bad place to start, as Derek Knight alluded to with his car metaphor in his recap of the Warriors' 108-97 win over the Cavs in Game 4.
The Warriors broke down on the road in Game Three. They didn't quite hit top speed in Game Four. But they did enough to pass LeBron James' puttering Winnebago on the shoulder. Now the two traveling bands of superstars and castaways are racing down Interstate 880.
The Warriors aren't up 3-1 due to individual talent to begin with; the Warriors are winning this series because they play better basketball as a unit on both ends of the floor.
It wouldn't be surprising if they come up with a win without one player.