• The Cavs are just one home win away from forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 of the NBA Finals. A longer series is good for just about everybody. A longer series prolongs NBA hot takes, bandwagon fans have more chances to hate LeBron James, the NBA makes a ton of money, the media gets to tell you the Cavs have a shot to keep you reading and listening, and the TV ratings go up.

    Sorry to bust the Cleveland bubble, but I’m here to tell you that it’s all false hope for Cavs fans. Did you watch Game 5? How many things had to avalanche correctly for the Cavs to survive against a team missing all-defensive first teamer Draymond Green? Let’s go to the numbers:

    • The Warriors attempted 43 uncontested shots in Game 5. They only converted 16 of those looks. Back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry was only 2-for-9 on his uncontested shots.
    • The Warriors only converted 4-of-19 wide open threes (no one within six feet of the shooter). They missed 28 three-pointers, including 13 of their final 14 attempts. The Cavs only attempted 24 threes in the entire game.
    • The Warriors only scored 36 points in the second half in a close out game at home to win the championship. They did not score in the final 6:39 of Game 5.
    • LeBron James and Kyrie Irving became the first teammates in NBA Finals history to score 82+ points in an elimination game.
    • Kyrie Irving became the second player in NBA Finals history to score 40+ points while shooting 70% or higher from the field.
    • No team has ever come back to win the NBA Finals down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Need I remind you that the Warriors are the greatest regular season teams in NBA history? This isn’t some push over.

    I see a lot of missed opportunities for one of the greatest shooting teams of all-time, and a ton of historic numbers for the Cavaliers. Sure, it’s not crazy to think that the Cavs can win on Thursday night at home where they are 8-1 in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. But you have to understand that one team is significantly more complete than the other. It is taking otherworldly performances by the Cavs stars and rare misses by the Warriors for the Cavs to steal two games so far. It has to happen two more times before the weekend is over. Ya, right.


    Now, you will hear the “Dray will be hungry” narrative played up by friends and family. Just know that’s extremely overrated. Tell me, who isn’t “hungry” for a win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals? Every player should be giving maximum effort at all times. Seeking revenge at this stage of the game is a desperate story line. You know better than that.

    While he will be just as hungry as everyone else, Draymond is a difference maker and my easy choice for MVP. Perhaps it’s as simple as this:

    With Draymond Green on the court in 152 minutes of the NBA Finals, the Warriors are +36 over the Cavs.

    With Draymond Green off the court in 88 minutes of the NBA Finals, the Warriors are -22 behind the Cavs.

    Dray won’t be watching another NBA Finals game eating skittles with Marshawn Lynch in a box suite next to the arena anymore. He was elated to have a shot to play another game this season.

    “Let’s go!” Green reportedly shouted while leaving the suite after the game. “I get a chance to play in another game.”

    Look no further for Green’s impact than the stats of those he has defended in the Finals. With Draymond guarding the big three:

    LeBron James: 5-of-14 FGs

    Kyrie Irving: 4-of-12 FGs

    Kevin Love: 5-of-13 FGs

    Astonishingly, each of the final 25 baskets in Game 5 for the Cavaliers came from a score or an assist by LeBron or Kyrie. The last basket that didn’t come from the dynamic Cavs duo was Iman Shumpert‘s layup with 5:27 left in the second quarter. Something tells me that you won’t see close to similar with Draymond Green parking himself in the middle.

    So there you have it. I can see the Cavs putting up a great fight against the Warriors at home for Game 6, probably losing close at the end but it wouldn’t be crazy if they survive and force a Game 7, although they truly don’t belong on the same court. As for a possible Game 7, all bets are on Golden State to pummel the Cavs at Roaracle Arena, unless LeBron has a 50-20-10 performance for the ages and the Warriors go cold.

    It’s not happening.

    Follow @HoopBallTweets for the latest NBA news and rumors. Feel free to hit my up on Twitter @RiazD to float some hate or ask about how to break it off with your girlfriend, whatever tickles your fancy. Have a great weekend and enjoy the last live NBA games!

Fantasy News

  • Ricky Rubio - G - Utah Jazz

    Ricky Rubio scored 17 points (7-of-15 shooting) to go with 11 assists, two rebounds and three steals in Wednesday's Game 5 loss in Houston.

    Rubio turned it up a notch over his last two games, double-doubling in both, but his efforts not enough to extend the series past Game 5. The free-agent PG will now head into an off season where there will be questions abound about who the Jazz should pair with Donovan Mitchell for the long term.

  • Blake Griffin - F - Detroit Pistons

    Blake Griffin (left knee) underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday night.

    Griffin's knee obviously dogged him during the final stretch of the regular season and throughout the Pistons' brief playoff run. The Pistons said that he isn't expected to miss any off season training and should be good to go for the start of the 2019-2020 season.

    Source: Mark Stein on Twitter

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    According to head coach Mike D'Antoni, Clint Capela (illness) is feeling much better ahead of Wednesday's matchup against the Jazz.

    Clint Capela has been struggling ever since he came down with this virus. He seems to be close to 100% according to his head coach. If Capela can get close to his season averages of 16.6 points on 64.8% shooting while grabbing 12.7 rebounds and blocking 1.5 shots per game, then the Jazz will have an even tougher to task to take down the Rockets on Wednesday in order to force a Game 6 back in Utah.

    Source: Tim MacMahon on Twitter

  • JaMychal Green - F - Los Angeles Clippers

    JaMychal Green will remain in the starting lineup in Game 5 on Wednesday.

    Green logged 22 minutes in the same role in Game 4, though it's not surprising that the Clippers will stick with the same group considering Ivica Zubac's tough fit in this matchup and Montrezl Harrell's fit in his current role.

    Source: Andrew Greif on Twitter

  • Nate Tibbets - Team - Trail Blazers

    The Suns have been given permission to interview Blazers assistants Nate Tibbets and David Vanterpool for their vacant head coaching position.

    The Cavs have already been connected to the duo from Portland, and Tibbets interviewed for the Hawks' gig last summer. The Suns reportedly fired Igor Kokoskov so they could make Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams their top target before the Lakers got too deep into talks, but Phoenix will be looking at multiple candidates. It's a nice roster to work with but we can't imagine anyone will be too eager to work with the team's ownership group.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Draymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green admitted that his right wrist has been hurt for "a while."

    Green added that he got hit there in Game 4 and "it pissed it off" and said that he's going to play through any pain in the postseason. It's not like teams weren't sagging off Green on the perimeter already, but if his wrist continues to hamper him in any way we may see opponents get very aggressive in their defensive efforts on Golden State's other players. Green is going to have lots of open jumpers presented to him for the rest of the postseason.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • Jarrett Allen - C - Brooklyn Nets

    Jarrett Allen will work on extending his range to the 3-point line this summer.

    Him and every other big man. Allen went 6-for-45 on 3-pointers this season, so he's got some work to do. He's a quality young player who can protect the rim, but Allen isn't quite strong enough to crash and bang with the league's true behemoths and not quite gifted enough offensively to be anything more than a threat on the roll. It's a great base from which to work, however, and it's good to know that Allen is going to be putting in the work to make himself more of a weapon as the Nets look to build on a nice campaign.

    Source: Bryan Fonseca on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart - G - Boston Celtics

    On Wednesday Brad Stevens said that Marcus Smart (torn oblique) is "doing great."

    That's nice, but it's not much of an update. Smart was able to do some light shooting and treadmill work yesterday but we're still not expecting to see him until the tail end of the second round at the earliest. His tenacity and perimeter defense will be missed dearly in Boston's matchup with the Bucks.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry suffered a dislocated finger on his right hand in the first half of Tuesday's Game 5 but was able to pop it back in and return to the game.

    Lowry swiped at the ball and ended up hitting Evan Fournier's leg with his hand, which caused the injury The fact that he was able to return to the game, even in a blowout, bodes well for his status for the second round. It may affect his shooting to some degree but Lowry has been playing facilitator more often anyway, and we wouldn't expect his performance to suffer. After a scoreless Game 1, Lowry was all over the floor for the Raptors as they locked in and simply outclassed Orlando.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Jeff Hornacek - Team - Sacramento Kings

    Sam Amick of the Athletic is reporting that former Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had an interview with the Kings for the lead assistant coach job.

    Sacramento has already hired Luke Walton to be their new coach but the news about the sexual assault allegations he faces might put his status in danger. Walton should be able to assemble his coaching staff once he is out of the woods but we should know more once the NBA concludes with their investigation of the matter.

    Source: The Athletic