With their season on the line the Cleveland Cavaliers came out to play. Led by there two superstars Kyrie Irving and LeBron James who combined for 82 points, they managed to hold off the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena 112-97. LeBron James put up a royalty effort scoring 41 points with 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, three blocks all in 43 minutes. Kyrie Irving wasn’t far behind him recording 41 points, six assists, three rebounds, two steals and one block, and shot 17-24 from the field and 5 of 7 from down town. This is the first time a pair of teammates went for 40-plus points in the same NBA Finals game.
All series long the Cavs have struggled to get any offense from there bench, causing a lot of criticism especially towards there leading superstar James. In this game nothing really changed, the Cavs still struggled to get anything from there roles players, but James and Irving were so great that it didn’t matter. James has been hesitant to take jump shots, and Irving has been reluctant to drive to the basket against this Warriors defense but tonight all that disappeared.
“You got a guy like Kyrie who’s very special, probably one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen live put on a show that he did.,” James said. “You just go out and follow the keys and play winning basketball. We did that tonight.”
Sure it seemed the Warriors defense was quite sloppy, but we can’t go saying that without mentioning one major point and that is they were without a primary defender in Draymond Green. The defensive player of the year runner up, was serving a one game suspension for a flagrant foul he committed on LeBron. Green’s absence meant that Golden State’s defense was not as sharp, and it was part of the reason why James and Irving could create better looks.
But by no means was Steve Kerr using this as an excuse for this loss. “It’s too simple to say that,” Kerr said. “We weren’t very good defensively. We obviously knew we were without Draymond, so there’s no point in harping on that. We had to play better, and we didn’t. Both those guys played terrific games, shot the ball well. I thought our defensive communication was lacking. We had some plays where we didn’t pick up in transition and we had some cross matches that we didn’t identify and they got free. Especially Kyrie.”
Klay Thompson seemed to be the only spark for Golden State scoring 26 of his 37 points just in the first half. A lot of people don’t remember Klay catching fire primarily because of the end result, but his offense was just as good as James and Irving’s. Still a lot of Cleveland fans are continuing to ask where is Love. Tyronne Lue opted to put him back in the starting line up and Love was almost invisible for 33 minutes.
The Warriors bench also struggled to find a bucket. Outside of Curry and Thompson there were no real offensive threats. If Golden State are to take the series in game 6, there slogan “Strength In Numbers” is going to have to be a little more truthful.
Game 6 MVP Predictor: LeBron James
LeBron James put up what was said to have been a legendary performance. On Friday night, at least for one night James left no doubt about who is the best basketball player in the world. And he ensured the Warriors would not celebrate in Cleveland for the second year running. James scored 41 points for the second game running to carry Cleveland to a 115-101 win in Game Six at the Q.
The King also recorded 11 assists, eight rebounds, three blocks and four steals to force a deciding Game Seven in Oakland on Monday. “He’s had two great games in a row to keep his team alive and that’s what he’s supposed to do,” Curry said. “I’m trying to do the same for my team.” The Cavs exploded to a 20 point lead in the first quarter pretty much sealing this game, but the Warriors did fight back in the third and managed to cut the lead to 7 points before Cleveland went on another surge and put the game away.
LeBron seemed like a man on a mission, and with Golden State defender Andre Iguodala struggling with a back injury the King capitalized. “That’s just LeBron being LeBron,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “He’s one of the greatest of all-time. Our backs were against the wall and he … put us on his back.”
Kyrie Irving continued his stellar performances with another 20 point game, whilst Tristan Thompson took advantage in the paint against a Bogurt-less Warriors and JR Smith hit four key 3 pointers to spark the Cavs. Curry was the best of the Warriors, scoring 30 points, but fouled out in the final term after two dubious refereeing decisions. Curry responded by throwing his mouthguard into the crowd and received an automatic technical and was ejected from the game. “I thought it was kind of hilarious, the last two fouls and me blowing up — how it unfolded,” Curry said.
Steve Kerr backed in his star, saying “I’m happy he threw his mouthpiece”. “That had nothing to do with the outcome. The outcome was already decided. But he had every right to be frustrated,” Kerr said. “He’s the MVP of the league and he gets six fouls called on him and three of them were ridiculous.”
The game was surrounded with controversy, but from the opening tip off the Warriors lacked energy and fire that they have had all season long. After the first 8 minutes of this game I was sitting there stunned saying this game is over. If the Warriors go into game 7 without Iguodala their chances lessen, but backed behind a home crowd Klay and Steph will need to get into god mode to be able to seal this one. LeBron and the Cavs are back in form now and are looking very dangerous, and although no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals, like Lebron said “Records are meant to be broken”. Game 7 is Sunday night at Oracle Arena, Oakland.
Game 6 MVP Predictor: LeBron James
*Image Source: ABC news.com