The Golden State Warriors decision to go very, very small in Game 4 of the NBA Finals changed their fortunes against the Cleveland Cavaliers, allowing the best team of the 2014-15 season to find its form after a slow start to the series. Starting center Andrew Bogut, an All-Defensive Second Team selection, is now out of the rotation entirely. Somehow, the terms of the finals dictate that the Warriors are better for it.
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Yet reserve center Festus Ezeli does continue to have a role as a more athletic big man. With 3:03 remaining in the third quarter of Tuesday's Game 6 at Quicken Loans Arena, Ezeli proved his value by following a missed Stephen Curry three with a very tough putback jam, drawing a foul on Timofey Mozgov in the process. Take a look:
Ezeli knocked down the free throw to give the Warriors a 69-55 lead in the midst of a 17-7 run that included eight points for the center. That stretch allowed Golden State to end the third up 12, a margin that proved difficult to erase as the Warriors clinched the franchise's first title in 40 years. Ezeli finished with 10 points, four rebounds, and a block in 11 minutes of play.
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