Kyrie Irving and LeBron James led the way last night in a win or go home scenario in the Bay. The two all-stars combined for 82 points between them on their way to a 112-97 win over the Warriors who were without the suspended Draymond Green who had to sit game 5 for his antics throughout the playoffs, recently capped off by punching LeBron in the family jewels. LeBron James set the tone early in game 5 with his aggressive mentality toward the rim, and finally his supporting cast joined him. The Cavaliers got 10 first quarter points from JR Smith who was fresh off taking zero shots all second half in game 4 where he was virtually nonexistent. Tristan Thompson was a bully on the boards like usual, however, without Draymond Green helping out on the boards for Golden State, Thompson was having his way with Bogut and Varejao all night. Kyrie Irving showed his true superstardom last night shooting 17-24 field goals, and 5-7 behind the arc. He also dished out 6 dimes which was double what he did in game 4. We got the pleasure of watching unbelievable basketball last night from both sides. Klay Thompson who has been my MVP for the Warriors thus far was on another planet he was so hot. The 6’7 guard shot 11-20 field goals, 6-11 behind the arc for 37 points and it might go down as one of the most under-appreciated finals performances in recent memory because of one man, King James.
LeBron James if you’re in the building please stand up! The Akron, Ohio native who has the highest ppg in facing-elimination finals games, (32 ppg) coming into last night told his Cleveland faithful that he and his squad weren’t done. The two time champion came out with a mean streak, (probably fueled by Draymond’s nugget punch and Klay’s attempt at calling him soft) and let the Warriors know it is going to take a lot to knock him down and out in back to back years. In last night’s win, we might have witnessed the best shooting performance from the King in a long time. He shot 16-30 field goals, but more importantly 4-8 from three. He demonstrated that he was going to be driving to the hole with ease all night without the presence of Draymond Green in the paint to defend him early on in the game. At halftime, he had 25 points with 10 boards, but had a good mix of pull up jumpers to go along with the hard drives to the basket. Then, in the third quarter we realized it was just the Cavs’ night. Kyrie Irving scored 8 straight points right out the gate to keep his offensive streak going, which made LeBron a little more settled knowing he wasn’t going to have 99% of the offensive load the rest of the way. That’s when LeBron started hitting some threes (yes, you read that right). He hit a couple in the third to keep the foot on the gas pedal.
Five minutes into the fourth quarter, the offense kept on clicking for the Cavs, and quite the opposite for the defending champs. It looked as if Klay Thompson had run out of gas and Steph wasn’t getting open easily because they had a 4 and a half game-minute drought, which put the game to bed. Fans started filing for the exits with about 5 and a half to go in the game, knowing that it was going to take at least one more game for them to celebrate with the confetti.
As we head into game 6 on Thursday night in Cleveland, there are a couple of headlines to keep your eye on. First and foremost, let’s see how Draymond Green is going to do fresh off his suspension. With how emotionally unstable he has been this postseason, who’s to say this game off for him didn’t fire him up even more to the point that he is going to go ballistic in game 6 with built up energy? Will LeBron and Kyrie have that same lights-out performance in back to back games? And what about Kevin Love? Has he turned into just another piece on the Cavaliers roster, or will he step up and play like the superstar they have wanted him (and payed him) to be? The drama around this year’s finals is unreal. A series that we thought might have been done in 4 games for the Warriors early on, now looks like it could be taken to 7 games and won by the Cavs after last night. Either way, we are truly watching the best basketball on the planet, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.