LeBron James and Kyrie Irving became the first teammates to score 40 points in an NBA Finals game as the Cavaliers force Game 6 to stave off elimination with a 112-97 victory over the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA finals on Monday night.
The absence of suspended star Draymond Green allowed James and Irving to attack the rim and make layups look easy. James finished 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, Irving also scored 41 points.
James was booed before, during and after the game. However, he let his performance speak for him. even as the criticism came from all directions following his Game 4 tussle with Green. James was booed again as the Cavs left the court. Fans had already made for the exits minutes earlier.
The Warriors will get Green back Thursday as they try again for that repeat title. He was suspended on Sunday for his fourth flagrant point of the postseason. He was assessed a retroactive Flagrant-1 for his swipe at James in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Game 4. Although, in my opinion this suspension came due to his other antics throughout these playoffs. Banned from the arena, Green watched from a baseball suite in the Oakland Coliseum next door, joined by Golden State general manager Bob Myers. Owner Jerry West wore a Draymond Green Jersey during the game.
Tied at 61 a piece at halftime, James and the Cavs grabbed command by doing all of the little things on both ends of the floor. The high energy plays that normally Draymond Green would make for the Warriors, the Cavs ended up making on both ends of the floor. The Warriors missed 14 of their first 20 shots out of intermission and shot 7 for 24 in the third.
Andre Iguodala had 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists starting in place of Green.
Klay Thompson scored a team-high 37 points with six 3-pointers and Curry added 25 points with five 3s, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. The Splash Brothers couldn’t seem to get it going in the second half and their defense was not as sharp as it was in Game 4 of the NBA finals.
James and Irving combined to shoot 33 for 54, while the Warriors went cold and finished 36.4 percent from the field. Irving’s three-point play with 7:30 remaining put Cleveland ahead 102-92, and ultimately would seal the win for the Cavs.
Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup for the first time since sustaining a concussion in Game 2 of the NBA finals, he played 34 minutes.
Warriors center Andrew Bogut went down early in the third grabbing his left knee and writhing in pain, and Kerr said he was undergoing an MRI exam. Its uncertain if he’ll play in Game 6.
Game 6 will take place of Thursday Night in Cleveland.
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