Before Game 5 started we were graced with the news that Draymond Green would be suspended for the pivotal game.
Now I was in the camp of people who thought this was a ploy by the NBA in order to elongate the Finals. Well, the NBA got their wish Monday night, as the Cavaliers, led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, handled business and beat the Warriors.
With Draymond Green being suspended, this opened up the lane for the likes of Irving and James to finish at the rim, where in prior games they’ve had to kick the ball back out after being met by Draymond.
James and Irving shot a combined 61% from the field and also merged for 82 points, 19 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 steals. The Warriors really had no answer for the dynamic duo, who both finally played up to their talent level.
A lot of people are saying that Game 5 was LeBron’s best playoff performance ever, and I’d have to agree. This was just the first NBA Finals game where James scored 40+ points, collected 15+ rebounds and dished out 5+ assists. For as talented as James is, you’d think this would be his scoreline every night in the Finals, but stepping up in big spots has always been his one criticism.
As for the Warriors, they shot 36% from the field and attempted 42 three-pointers, which is never a good recipe for success. In every other major category they played even or better than the Cavaliers, but with Harrison Barnes shooting only 2-14 and Curry shooting 8-21, it was an uphill battle all night for the defending champions.
Here are the best moments from Game 5:
LeBron had two or three chase-down blocks that reminded us of what he used to do during his first stint in Cleveland.
Shaun Livingston caught Jefferson with a big time slam.
LeBron took advantage of every mismatch he found himself in.