Game 5 got a lot of people talking. Those who thought the series was over have now done a complete 180 and find themselves saying that Cleveland has a legitimate shot to win it all. Those same people who criticized LeBron for his play thus far are now kissing his feet. Pump the breaks people. Why are we letting one game have so much influence on our opinions? Was it a huge win for the Cavs? Yes. Was it an incredible night for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving? Absolutely. Will the Cavs win two more and be crowned NBA Champions? Hell no.
When formulating my opinions on sports, I try not to let single performances hold too much weight. Which is why when I look at this series, it seems that the Warriors have never lost control. Even after dropping Game 5 on their home court, they remain in the driver’s seat. So for those of you who find yourselves all of a sudden believing the Cavs have a chance to win the series, here are some reasons to as to why the Warriors will close it out in Game 6:
Despite a poor shooting night, Golden State still scored 97 points
I didn’t realize this until after the game, but the Warriors only shot 36% from the field (their worst percentage of the series) and still managed to score 97 points. Even with the Cavaliers shooting 53%, the Warriors were able to stay within striking distance of them for a majority of the game. When your a team that relies on jump shooting as much as the Warriors, these types of shooting performances happen. But what makes Golden State so special is that these types of performances don’t happen that often. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice in the same place, as I believe the Warriors will shoot much better in Game 6.
The Cavs still have yet to receive production from their bench
Receiving production from their second unit has been a main problem for the Cavs this entire series. This problem was irrelevant in Game 5, as LeBron and Kyrie went on to have the best offensive postseason game of their careers. But do the Cavs really want to rely on historic nights from their two superstars to keep them afloat? Probably not. No offense to LeBron and Kyrie, but those types of games don’t come around too often. They were the first duo to each score 40 points in the NBA Finals, so it would be a near impossible feat for them to replicate in Game 6. Aside from LeBron and Kyrie, the only other player in double figures and the next highest scorer was JR Smith with 10 points. As for Kevin Love, he was nowhere to be found scoring two points on 1-5 shooting. Obviously it’s fantastic that your two superstars had a historic night, but the Cavs cannot soley rely on them. Most likely LeBron and Kyrie will not score as many points as they did last game in Game 6 and without contribution from their bench, the Cavs will have a much harder time winning.
The Warriors were forced to play without Draymond Green
Hello, remember me? A two time NBA All-Defensive first team selection? An all-star? I averaged 14 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 7.4 APG this year, remember me? Oh yeah, that’s right. In Game 5 the Warriors were unable to play one of the centerpieces of their team. Although the least prolific offensively and the most controversial out of Golden State’s big three, I would argue Draymond Green is the glue that keeps this team together. He plays with such an intensity that ignites his team on both sides of the ball. Looking specifically on defense, the Warriors missed Green’s ability to guard LeBron James, as he had one of his better shooting performance of the postseason. Draymond’s size, speed, and strength allows Steve Kerr to create more flexible defensive units. As for offensively, the Warriors lost a viable spot up shooter and a main proponent in their pick and roll game. With Draymond Green back in Game 6, you have to believe his anger will drive his intensity both offensively and defensively to another level.
Golden State hasn’t lost three in a row since November 23rd, 2013
That’s a long time and the Warriors have changed a lot since then. In 2013, Mark Jackson was their head coach and David Lee averaged the same amount of points per game as Klay Thompson. Its rare that the Warriors lose two in a row, but to lose three in a row is basically unheard of. In order for the Cavs to win the NBA Finals, they will have to win the next two games, which means they will have beaten the Warriors three times in a row. But not even looking that far ahead, the Warriors have already lost back-to-back games once this postseason, I really don’t expect them to do it again.