The Scoop: cleaning up yesterday’s action in the Association…
NBA Finals (Game 5)
Top DOG of the Night: Kyrie Irving (41 points on 71% from the field, 6 asts, 3 rebs, 2 stls)
Kyrie has scored 30 points or more in the last three games of the NBA finals and capped off the trifecta with 41 huge buckets. Although he and teammate LeBron James set an NBA Finals record becoming the first duo to score 41+ points in the same game, it was Irving’s spirited play that really kept the Cavs’ ship afloat the whole game. Irving hit a series of tough shots over Curry, Thompson, and virtually any other Warrior that was guarding him.
LeBron pouring in 4 threes from long distance also kept the Warriors’ defense honest, allowing him to to create better in driving lanes with more space to operate. You could tell James was playing at an extremely confident level, responding to all the negative chatter he’s received the past few days with his dominant play on the court. You honestly haven’t seen James play at this level since the 2015 Finals. Tonight he didn’t put up a bunch of empty numbers, he impacted the game with ferocious blocks, well-timed put backs, and high octane drives that made defenders respect him as one of the greatest players in the world.
Kyrie and James carried their Cavs to game 6 with a combined 82 points and will look to follow that up in order to stave off an early vacation with no championship ring.
The Warriors lost last night but they played without their spirit leader, Draymond Green, due to his suspension. His impact at timed can be incorrectly valued with the variances he displays in the stat sheet but his role will be on full display in another closeout game for the Golden State Warriors.
There was much talk about the Warriors coming into game 5 seething at the fact that the league suspended Draymond for actions they feel like LeBron spurred, but they clearly didn’t have enough to get over the top. All of that anger, mixed in with the return of Draymond for game 6 has the potential for a deadly recipe.
The Finals have finally begun to heat up in the latter half of the series, and many expected the series to be over already. With a chance to send the Warriors back to the Bay with all pressure on them in game 7, look for Cleveland to leave everything they have on their home floor Thursday. It’s hard to imagine what Kyrie and LeBron can have left up their bag of tricks after performances like the ones they displayed tonight but one thing’s for sure; they’re not going home quite yet.
GSW leads the series 3-2.