(Photo Credit: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)
By: Monte Perez
The Cleveland Cavaliers (who were supposed to be fishing after Game 5) will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Thursday Night, 9PM on ABC. The Cavs took full advantage of Draymond Green being suspended, defeating GS 112-97. Most experts thought the Warriors would take care of business at home, but the clearly didn’t. All the pressure is now on them to go to Cleveland and close this series out. If they don’t win in Game 6 the Cavs will have all the confidence in the world going into Game 7.
This has been a two- man show for Cleveland. Point Guard, Kyrie Irving has thoroughly outplayed Stephen Curry and LeBron James continues to be one of the best players to ever play in the NBA Finals. Once again, he led both teams in points 41, rebounds 16 and assists 7 in Game 5. The so called “Haters” can come out against James but they have no argument. When another player on his team scores at least 20 points in a playoff game, James has a record of 86-33. Even though his teams don’t always win, he constantly leads both teams in points rebounds and assists. There is nothing more than he can do. Facing a hostile crowd in a “win or go home” situation, LeBron took over the game. But this is no surprise, when the competition and moment gets better so does he. James has a career 33.2 scoring average elimination games.
Klay Thompson kept the Warriors in the game until about midway through the third quarter. He had 37 points but was clearly a non-factor as the game went on. Every time GS hit a momentum changing three, the Cavs answered back with a basket. Curry had 25 points but this is now two years in a row, where Cleveland has limited him. Curry is the two time MVP but his numbers in the Finals aren’t even close to what he did in the regular season. His points per game and shooting percentage are down. Elite players dominate in the biggest moments; Curry has gotten a pass so far because his team keeps on winning. Getting Green back will be a huge boost emotionally and physically on the court. But, the way James and Irving played last game, GS still wouldn’t have won the game… even if Green played.
Preview of Game 6:
Although the two-man dominance of Irving and James have produced two wins, this is not a good formula to beat GS 4 out of 7. “The King” and “Uncle Drew” have accounted (points and assists) for 83% of the Cavs offense. If Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant couldn’t beat GS being a two- man show, the Cavs can’t either. In order for Cleveland to win they have to get production out of Kevin Love and JR Smith, both have been M.I.A recently. Matthew Dellavedova has provided absolutely nothing in the Finals. I wouldn’t be shocked if Coach Tyronn Lue goes to veteran back up Mo Williams, to give him some minutes. The Warriors have been a best team all season for a reason, they are mentally tough and beyond resilient. But, they can’t continue to win if Curry is not the best player on the court. If James numbers were down, like Curry’s, he would be getting crucified in the media. If the Warriors want to win their second straight title, the two-time MVP has to lead them.
I have gone back and forth with this prediction for the past few days. But I like the Cavs at home, to win Game 6. If they can continue to push the ball and get contribution from bench players, they will win.
Take the Cavs 117-103.
Game 7 will be here on Sunday
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