Cleveland’s 112-97 win sends the series back to northeast Ohio for Game 6 with the Warriors one win from the championship -– just like what happened last year. This time, though, the momentum appears to be squarely in the Cavs’ favor.
The match-winners are Kyrie Irving who scores 41 points on 17-for-24 shooting with six assists, and Lebron James who also scores 41-point, 16-rebound, seven-assist, three-steal, three-block, both of them have made an unbelievable performances, Monday night was the first time a pair of teammates went for 40-plus points in the same NBA Finals game. And now the Cavaliers still have hopes of another historic achievement: becoming the first team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Finals.
Outside of James and Irving, the Cavs didn’t have much going for them, but it’s not like they needed it. Kevin Love, back in the starting lineup, had just two points on 1-for-5 shooting and three rebounds. Tristan Thompson grabbed 15 rebounds but shot just 4-for-10 from the line. J.R. Smith started 3-for-4 from the field, then went 0-for-5.
“Well, we just want them to be aggressive, continue to attack like we’ve been talking about all series,” said Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue. “And they had two great games, two breakout games. We need those two guys to give us confidence early, and they both did that.
“Everyone playing in the game, everyone on the bench stayed engaged. We made some mistakes, but the guys never gave in. We never quit when they made their runs. We stuck with it after making some mistakes, and that’s a tribute to the guys and just how much they wanted it. But I’m just very excited and proud of the way we scrapped and continued to play hard. That’s how we’ve got to play. That’s us.”
For the Warriors, they didn’t get to treat their fans to a championship celebration at home. They didn’t bail out Green for his costly lapse in judgment. They didn’t avoid their privately feared scenario of suffering an injury in a now-extended series.
The series is a series again, and with Andrew Bogut’s health in question after hurting his left knee, plus Green’s impending return, it is likely to take on a new look and complexion in Thursday’s Game 6.