June 13, 2016, 11:15 pm
Monday night brought us what could well have been the last game of the 2015-2016 NBA season. LeBron James and his Cavs travelled to Oakland to face a confident Warriors team looking to repeat as champions despite missing their suspended emotional leader. Could the Warriors overcome the loss of Draymond Green and solidify their place in the record books as the greatest team ever, or would the Cavs fight to live another day? Here’s Tuesday’s daily dish.
CAVS 112, WARRIORS 97
The first half of this game was one of the most exciting halves of basketball this season as these two elite squads went toe to toe trading basket for basket. The score was tied at 61 apiece after the first half and many expected this game to go down to the wire, however, the King and his men had other ideas. The Cavs outscored the Dubs by nine points in the third quarter and never looked back, en route to a 15-point victory in Game 5 of the NBA finals.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were absolutely unstoppable in this one combining for 82 points on 33-of-54 shooting from the field. These two put on a show for the ages as this marked the first time in NBA finals history where two teammates scored over 40 points each.
James scored 41 points with four three pointers, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks in one of the most complete lines we’ve seen in these playoffs.
Irving also added 41 points with 5 treys while contributing three rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. Irving put on a shooting display and was able to make some tough shots all night despite some very good defense from Klay Thompson.
Tristan Thompson played a strong defensive grabbing 15 rebounds and two blocks. He scored six points but was only able to hit on 4-of-10 from the charity stripe.
For the Warriors, Klay Thompson led the way with 37 points. Thompson shot 11-of-20 from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 from the line but was limited to only 11 points in the second half. Thompson finished with six treys and three rebounds to round out his evening.
Splash brother number two, Stephen Curry added a quiet 25 points in the Game 5 loss. Although the 25 points don’t jump out as a bad stat, Curry only shot 8-of-21 from the field and 5-of-14 from downtown. He did add seven rebounds, four assists and an uncharacteristic three blocks, but he was unable to guard Kyrie Irving for most of the evening and in the end it cost them dearly.
Andre Iguodala played decently in a spot start for the suspended Draymond Green. Iguodala scored 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting while adding a team-high 11 rebounds. Iggy will move back to his normal bench role for Game 6 in Cleveland but should continue to have a major role for the Dubs.
The Warriors shot poorly in the second half and only ended up scoring 36 points. They may have lost more than just the game in this one as well as starting center Andrew Bogut left the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury. Bogut was ruled out for the game shortly afterwards and an MRI is scheduled to examine the extent of the injury.
Harrison Barnes shot an abysmal 2-of-14 from the field for five points. He added five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. The normally efficient Barnes put up a dud when his team needed him the most. Hopefully the return of Draymond Green in Game 6 allows Barnes to get his confidence back.
For the Cavs, starting power forward Kevin Love returned to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in Game 4. Love played 33 minutes but only shot 1-of-5 from the field for two points. The internet has been calling for the insertion of Richard Jefferson into the starting line-up and tonight’s line will not help Love’s cause. James and Irving were spectacular tonight, but it would be unrealistic to assume that they will be able to replicate their efforts in Game 6. The fact remains, Love needs to play better.
The Warriors clearly missed Draymond Green in this one. Green is that defensive specialist that can alter the outcome of a game with a steal or block, but LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had their way both on the perimeter and in the paint tonight. Luckily for the Warriors Green will return for Game 6 in what should be an interesting showdown between LeBron and Draymond. If Kyrie Irving can keep up his offensive prowess, we may be playing “Going back to Cali” by L.L. Cool J on repeat leading up to a potential Sunday night Game 7 showdown.