March 6, 2016 is a day that will be forever remembered in the annals of NBA history. On that glorious day, the worst Los Angeles Lakers team of all time beat the team with the best regular season record in NBA history, the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. It was the biggest regular season upset of all time, as according to the Washington Post, "a team with a winning percentage as poor as that of the Lakers had never before defeated a team with winning percentage as high as that of Golden State."
Did Los Angeles just get lucky? Maybe. Or maybe, just maybe, Byron Scott, Kobe Bryant, and their young charges figured out the secret recipe to knocking off one of the best teams ever. They must have had at least some good stuff going, right?
As the Cleveland Cavaliers try to overcome a 3-1 series deficit, bring long-suffering Cleveland the major sports championship that has seemingly forever eluded it, and put an asterisk on the Dub's historic season, it's time to look back to March and see what very serious strategic suggestions the Lakers' upset can offer the Cavs as they look to complete their own.
Suggestion #1: Shoot better and hope the Warriors shoot worse
The Cavaliers have only made 31.5 percent of their threes in the NBA Finals so far, which isn't great when they are taking 23.5 shots from their per game (28 percent of their total field goals). The Warriors, meanwhile, have knocked down 38.8 percent of their 32.3 three-point attempts per game in their four Finals games so far. When you remember that three-pointers are worth one more point than two-pointers, that math looks pretty bad for the Cavaliers.
They could take a lesson from the 3/6/16 Lakers, who not only managed to make 36 percent of their 25 three-point attempts, but they also "forced" the Warriors to only convert 13.3 percent of their own threes, their worst percentage from distance the entire season.
J.R. Smith has made 36 percent of his Cavs leading 6.3 threes per game in the Finals so far, but LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are going to have to take a lesson from D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers young guards combined to make 50 percent of their 14 threes against the Warriors, while James and Irving have only made 31.1 percent of their nine attempts per game.
If the King wants another ring, he's going to have to take a lesson from the Mini Splash BrothersTM (patent pending) and take and make more threes. Maybe the next tip could help him.
Suggestion #2: Man up
Coach of the Year snub Byron Scott revealed the adjustment he used to beat the Warriors to the media after the game, and it was pretty simple:
Byron: "Sometimes you've got to challenge their manhood to get some type of response. And the response we got tonight was a great response."— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) March 6, 2016
If challenging a team's manhood gets them to hold the Warriors to their worst percentage on three-pointers all year despite giving up mostly open shots, then it's a wonder more teams haven't tried it.
On the flipside though, Draymond Green had a, ahem, pretty direct challenge to LeBron's manhood during the Warriors' game four win and the Cavaliers didn't respond so well, so maybe this solution requires a coach with the motivational track record of Scott to implement. Maybe he has some spare time in between going on every T.V. and/or radio show in existence to fly up to Oakland and help out his old team.
Any movie would probably work, but the Cavaliers shouldn't take any chances here and go with a strategy that has a proven record of success at getting the Warriors best player to shoot horribly on a high volume of shots. Stephen Curry made just one of his ten three-point attempts against the Lakers on March 6th, which was his second-worst conversion rate from deep during the entire season.
While we can't be sure of the exact reason he turned into Mark Madsen from deep, Silver Screen and Roll did confirm that Curry saw a midnight showing of the movie "Deadpool" the night before the team played the Lakers. Curry didn't get into his hotel until 3:30 a.m. the morning before a 12:30 p.m. game, and so maybe simple fatigue is really the only way to shut down the unanimous MVP. All the Cavs have to do is get him to do it three more times.
Deadpool is a pretty awesome movie, so that should be almost as easy as our fourth completely serious tip.
Suggestion #4: Wear special Kobe socks
Kobe didn't play very well against the Warriors, but he thought some of his old Mamba magic may have transferred to his teammates via their feet:
Kobe on the win: "It's got to be the socks."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 6, 2016
For those that forgot or are unaware, the Lakers wore these socks during their win against the Warriors:
The Cavaliers may want to figure out if those socks are sold out yet, because they may need to add them to their shopping cart along with a "Deadpool" Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack before game five on Monday.
These tips may seem ridiculous, but when you are down 3-1 in the NBA Finals, sometimes the ridiculous may be your best option.
All stats per NBA.com unless otherwise noted. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.