June 15, 2016, 10:50 am
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.
DRAYMOND IS YOUR NBA FINALS MVP
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.
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