The Cleveland Cavaliers extended the series with a 112-97 whopping of the Golden State Warriors behind 41 points apiece from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in the NBA Finals Game 5. It was two dazzling individual performances intertwined in the same game, making it impossible for the Warriors to pull off a comeback.
And oh, they don’t have Draymond Green and ultimately Andrew Bogut.
Here are the 3 things we learned from the NBA Finals Game 5:
1. It’s probably not a good idea to trash-talk LeBron James.
The Warriors were obviously not happy when reports surfaced about James pushing the league to suspend Green but they should have left it as it was. The media was already doing their job castigating the move (I see you, Stephen A., Reggie Miller) so they don’t really need to add fuel to the fire. At least not until the series is over.
James came out like a man on fire, finishing with 41 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. If they don’t want an encore performance of that caliber, it’s time for the Warriors to shut their mouths and just play on.
2. Draymond Green might be the Warriors’ most valuable player.
This is not even going out on a limb saying this and the NBA Finals is a proof of that. Green does too much for the Warriors– rebounding, rim protection, pick-and-roll D, playmaking, starting the break, etc– that the Dubs simply looked lost on both sides without their star. The Death Lineup looked more like a joke without Green in there, lacking the bite and intensity the Michigan State alum carry with him always.
Still, it took two historic individual performances to beat the Warriors but with Green on the floor, it will take much more than that.
3. Kevin Love can positively affect the team’s offense without scoring.
Maybe it’s the desperation or a realization that he needed to do something else to make room for the eruption of Irving and James, Love is a positive on offense whenever he was on the floor in Game 5. The eye test is not pretty, coming up with only 2 points and 3 rebounds in 32 minutes of play.
But that does not tell the whole story.
K-Love actually has the team’s best offensive rating at 120.8 according to NBA.com/stats, a tad above Irving’s 120.3. James only had a 109.6 but was team-best in defense at 93.8.
If Love can find ways to affect the Cavs’ offense without having to score, it could open up the gates again for James and Irving in Game 6. When that takes place, anything can happen, including possibly a Game 7.
Photo via: espn.go.com