Game six : Golden State Warriors @ Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, June 17, 11am AEST, ESPN
ONE more win.
That is all it will take for the Golden State Warriors ($1.54 with WilliamHill.com.au) to win their first NBA Championship in 40 years after they withstood an insane triple double from The King Lebron James in a 104-91 game five victory over Cleveland ($2.56 with CrownBet.com.au) in front of a raucous Oracle Arena crowd.
James was irrepressible, dropping 40 points to go with 14 rebounds and 11 assists to deliver for CupsBetting.com readers who followed our tip for him to record a triple double in the match at $3 with WilliamHill.com.au.
It was his second triple double of the series, but it wasn’t enough to surpass an insane shooting night from NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry.
The hot shooting point guard, who hasn’t been as dominant in the series as he would have liked, was on fire, dropping 37 points to go with seven boards and four assists, many of his seven three point makes either from the parking lot or adding the exclamation mark to his insane handles that bamboozled the Cavs defenders.
Curry’s supreme night was the highlight, the two superstars effectively cancelling each other out.
But this series has always come down to how well the support cast performs and, on this night, it was the Warriors lesser lights who stood up.
Draymond Green scored nine of the Warriors’ first 14 points, to end with 16 points, nine rebounds and six dimes and, while Klay Thompson only managed 14 points, little used Brazilian Leandro Barbosa stepped up with 13 off the bench to fill his void.
And it was Andre Iguodala, as he has done throughout the series, who again played out of his skin, dropping 14 points to go with eight boards, seven assists and three steals. He was involved in all the key plays and was the go to man defending Lebron.
It’s not often you’d say a guy has defended well when his opponent has dropped 40 points, but King James is that good – he did it at will when Thompson or Barnes went to him.
“He has the ball in his hands a lot,” Curry said after the game, when asked by a reporter how to stop Lebron.
“Stick with the program.
“Don’t get discouraged if he makes shots.
“He’s going to.
“Over the course of 48 minutes, we hope we wear him down to make it very tough on him.”
James is averaging an other worldly 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.2 steals throughout the five finals games, but the Warriors have held him to under 40 per cent shooting from the field and would call that a win.
And, for all Lebron’s brilliance, he found a match in Curry, with Cavs’ coach David Blatt at a loss when asked by a reporter how to deal with the sharp shooter after the game.
“Not a lot you can do, honestly,” Blatt said.
“He made some terrific shots.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr went small in game four and it proved a master stroke, helping them secure victory.
Towering Cavs’ centre Timofey Mozgov had a career night in game four with 28 points and 10 rebounds, but hardly saw the floor in game five, playing just nine minutes as we got a glimpse of the future of NBA basketball.
Lebron basically played all five positions on the court, Draymond Green played centre for much of it for the Warriors and the ball was pushed.
The problem for Cleveland is that the Warriors play like this all the time. The Cavs do not.
The Cavs’ best contributor was Tristan Thompson, who hit the glass as he has done all series, finishing with 19 points and 10 boards, while JR Smith looked like he’d caught fire, dropping 14 points with four three pointers, but all of that came before half time.
After taking a 3-2 lead, the Warriors now have two chances to win the series, with the Cavs playing for their lives.
They’re in the box seat, but don’t tell Lebron that.
Game result: Golden State Warriors win ($1.54 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Line: Golden State Warriors -4.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
Total game score: Over 195.5 ($1.92 with CrownBet.com.au)
Margin betting: Golden State Warriors over 11 plus ($3.36 with sportsbet.com.au)
We’re sorry Lebron. But we think the dream of bringing a major title in any of America’s big sports to Cleveland is still going to be just that – a dream.
Cleveland has not won a major title in any sport for 51 years – it’s about to be 52.
Under the current 2-2-1-1-1 schedule format, the winner of Game Five in a series tied at 2 all has won the title 12 of 14 times in NBA history.
Lebron is averaging a massive 45.6 minutes per game in this series.
He played 45 minutes yesterday.
He only gets a one day break between games.
For all his supreme talents, he is only human, it will be a monumental effort if he can perform at the same level he did in game six – and we’ve already seen that doesn’t guarantee a Cavs victory.
The Warriors have been the best team in the NBA all season. They won 67 games. The won on the road, they dominated at home.
The bench runs deep with guys like Barbosa, Shaun Livingston and the forgotten man David Lee, coming into the line up, giving quality minutes and giving the stars like Curry plenty of rest.
The Cavs are ripe for the picking and we’re expecting the Warriors to run them off their feet.
The last time the Warriors visited the Quicken Loans arena, they walked away from it with a blow out 21 point win.
Lebron might be the hungriest player on the floor, but champion teams tend to trump a team of one champion.
The Warriors are primed to win this title, they have something special and it’s time to complete the job.
The last two games the Warriors have managed to win by 11 or more and we’re tipping the same thing to happen, even if it is on the tiring Cavs home floor – the bench only runs two deep, so expect them to stick with the Warriors early and then fade late.
The blue, yellow and white confetti is set to fall after this one, with Curry to complete his record breaking MVP season with a best on court performance.
Finals Most Valuable Player tips
Our tip: Lebron James ($2.14 with sportsbet.com.au)
Smokey: Andre Iguodala ($7.10 with sportsbet.com.au)
Even if the Golden State Warriors win this series, Lebron James should be the Finals Most Valuable Player.
Take any other player in the NBA and put him on that roster and the Warriors sweep them, no question.
No Kevin Love, no Kyrie Irving.
The side is made up of second round draft picks and undrafted scrubs.
And yet he’s put them on his back and managed to help them win two games in this series, averaging, as we’ve mentioned, 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.2 steals.
No one comes close to him.
Lebron’s effort, even if he loses, has been as good as anyone since Shaq during the Los Angeles Lakers’ three peat in the early 2000s.
He has history against him though, with only the great Lakers shooting guard Jerry West winning the finals MVP in a losing effort.
Curry could be the danger after his 37 point night yesterday, but he would need a monstrous performance in game six to even be considered. He’s averaging 26.2 points, six assists and five rebounds, but he’s dropped seven treys twice in the series and while he’s struggled early on, seems to have turned the corner, making several key plays in the last three games.
Many believe Andre Iguodala has been the best Warrior in this series.
The 14.6 points, six boards and four dimes doesn’t appear to be MVP like numbers, but his defence on Lebron, making The King work for every thing and his ability to make big plays on both ends of the floor has caught the eye of many experts and he could be a real dark horse at odds for the gong.
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