It seems like just the other day that the Warriors were up 2-0 and on their way to back-to-back NBA titles after dominating the Cavaliers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. And It seems like just yesterday the reigning MVP Stephen Curry dropped 38 on the Cavs’ home court to go up 3-1 before heading back home to presumably end the series. But, here we are, discussing a pivotal Game 6 in Cleveland after a Draymond Green suspension and a historical performance from both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James led to an improbable road victory to force another trip to Quicken Loans Arena.
Despite the Green suspension, the Warriors were still favorites at home – where they rarely lost this season – and the general consensus was that the Dubs’ would end the series. LeBron’s stat line was incredible; he put up 41 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, dished out 7 assists. Oh, and he had 3 steals and 3 beautiful blocks. James found his jump shot and took advantage of the vacant Green. Somehow, his performance was arguably the second best on the court that night. Irving put up 41 points of his own and shot a spectacular 17-24 from the field – a historical performance for sure.
So, here we are, 82 combined points later. Discussing Game 6. The Warriors’ best rim protector Andrew Bogut will be out after suffering a knee injury, but their second best will be back in Draymond Green – and he certainly has a lot to prove. Game 5 showed how important the versatile Green is to the Warriors, not only on defense but on offense as well. The Warriors were 0-11 on uncontested threes in the 2nd half. While Green likely won’t individually enhance those numbers, he will certainly help the flow of the Warriors’ offense.
Some Warriors numbers:
- Harrison Barnes was 2-14 (!!!) from the floor, and 1-6 from three. He missed a few wide open threes, one coming around the 7-8 minute mark in the fourth quarter that would have cut the Cavs’ lead to 4. Instead, Irving knocked in a conventional three-point-play on the other end of the floor, the Cavs lead was bumped to 10, and the Warriors would never recover. He has to be better.
- The MVP was off himself. Curry was 5-14 from three, but also missed a couple wide open threes. It’s clear that Curry is limited in terms of cutting and sharpness, but that shouldn’t affect his shot much and is no excuse for missing wide open shots. The MVP needs to show up.
- The Warriors were 14-42 (33%) from three. To me, it almost looked like some of them were personally gunning for the wide open Finals’ MVP trophy. Iguodala, particularly, took some bad shots early. They need to play like a team again and stay focused on playing their team basketball.
Despite playing poorly and missing arguably their most important player in Green, the Warriors were in this game. Maybe it’s because no one else really contributed on the Cavs, but it certainly says something that Irving and James needed 82 to seal the deal in Oracle. This time, they will be in Cleveland where their role players will presumably play better. It’s pretty cut and dry, for me: If the Warriors shoot well, they will win the game. They will be forced to play more small ball without their big man, and that honestly may help them. My heart tells me the Cavs will play well at home, but my head says that the Warriors will player better than Game 5 – and that will be enough.
Before the series I predicted the Warriors in 6 or 7. Before Game 5, I was pretty sure the Warriors would close out the series at home. So, clearly, I have been all over the place and my predictions don’t amount to anything. But, for records’ sake, I will say the Warriors end the series tonight on the road. If not, I’m ecstatic for a Game 7 in Oracle.
Photo credit: Digitaltrends.com