LeBron's weary Cavs try to fill up tank for Finals push

Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:09pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - LeBron James has carried the Cleveland Cavaliers throughout the NBA playoffs but getting them over the finish line could prove too big a challenge as his weary team's shortened bench is taking a toll.

The banged-up Cavaliers, already down two starting players and dealing with health issues to a few others, looked sluggish in Thursday's loss to the Golden States Warriors that knotted the best-of-seven NBA Finals at 2-2.

"The one thing we've been preaching the whole series is that we wanted to wear them down," Warriors forward Draymond Green said after Thursday's 103-83 win.

The Warriors did just that on Thursday as they played with a much higher intensity level, contested shots, pounced on loose balls and battled for rebounds en route to posting their highest regulation point total of the NBA's championship series.

Feisty Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova went to hospital to be treated for dehydration following Tuesday's Game Three and Iman Shumpert is battling a painful shoulder bruise.

That is on top of losing All-Star guard Kyrie Irving in the opening game of the Finals and Kevin Love early in the playoffs.

And on Thursday, Cleveland nearly lost the heart and soul of their team when James crashed into a camera along the baseline, leaving him with a headache and a bloody gash on his head that required stitches.

Even James, one of the most competitive players in the NBA, needed rest during key moments on Thursday's pivotal game.   Continued...

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James moves to the basket against the defense of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and forward Harrison Barnes during the first half in game two. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports