NBA

LeBron James.

The Cavaliers and LeBron James are not quite ready to give up on their quest

Published 2 Comments

Football News
24/7

The Cleveland Cavaliers lived to fight another day in the NBA Finals after overcoming the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena for the first time since 2015.

The Cavs were on a four-game losing streak in Oakland and you had to go back to game two of last year's Finals for their last win on Warriors ground.

With that recent record in mind, coupled with the fact that they were heading into an elimination game, not many gave the Cavaliers a chance to extend the series to a game six.

That's exactly what they did, however. With their backs against the wall, the Ohio-based franchise produced its biggest result of the season with an impressive 112-97 win.

Here are the main takeaways from game five:

Kyrie Irving became a superstar

Having struggled in the first two games in the series, Cleveland were immediately facing a 0-2 deficit due in no small part to the lack of production from Irving in those defeats.

Questions were being asked about Kyrie's ability to step up on the biggest stage and whether he was the right point guard for the team given his score-first approach and apparent disregard for getting his teammates involved.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Five

Since game three, however, we've seen a different Irving. He was one of the catalysts for the team's 30-point blowout of the Warriors in a game which brought them back into the series momentarily.

He dropped 30 points in that encounter and added 34 in a losing effort in game four. With the Wine and Gold trailing 3-1 heading into last night's contest in the Bay Area, they needed something special from their star players to keep their faint championship hopes alive and Kyrie delivered.

The three-time All-Star poured in 41 points on an astonishing 17-of-24 shooting from the field (70.8 percent). He became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1970 to score at least 40 points in a Finals game while shooting 70 percent or better from the floor.

He showcased his array of offensive skills on a night when his team needed it most and Golden State just couldn't cope with him. LeBron James summed it up with it one line.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Five

"It's probably one of the greatest performances I've ever seen live," he said.

At this stage, the 24-year-old is the Finals MVP without question, having put up 30+ points in three straight games. Unfortunately, though, he won't receive the award if he ends up on the losing side.

Irving is one of the best offensive players in the league and has always been a star, this performance turned him into a superstar.

The value of Draymond Green

MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson may get all the plaudits for their scoring abilities and offensive showings, but this game outlined the true importance of Draymond Green.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Four

The power forward missed the contest after being suspended for picking up his fourth flagrant foul in the playoffs following an incident with James in game four.

As well as being the emotional and vocal leader for the Dubs, he's also their first line of defence. As they showed last night, they are significantly weaker defensively when Draymond is off the floor.

He has only missed two games this year and both have resulted in defeats - the first coming against the lowly Denver Nuggets.

The All-Star is the glue that keeps the team together and brings the energy and the hustle on the floor that they lacked in this defeat - only their fourth at home this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Draymond also allows Steve Kerr to go small when he's on the court with his ability to play at center in that lineup and guard multiple positions.

He becomes the team's rim protector and is adept at switching onto any player and without him, Irving and LeBron had the freedom of the Warriors paint where the Cavs outscored them 46-30.

"We weren't very good defensively," head coach Steve Kerr said. "We obviously knew we were without Draymond, so there's no point in harping on that. We had to play better, and we didn't."

Defence wins championships and with Green on the floor, the Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the league. His presence was sorely missed.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Four

LeBron won't give up

Alongside Irving, the Cavaliers got a huge performance from their leader. King James returned to Cleveland to deliver that elusive championship to the city and is not prepared to go down without a fight.

The four-time MVP showed why he averages the most points in elimination games of any player in NBA history at 32.4.

He filled the stat sheet in game five putting up 41 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks. He and Kyrie became the first pair of teammates to ever post 40 points in one Finals game.

LeBron secured a number of other milestones with his display. He surpassed Michael Jordan for the most 20-point games in postseason history at 174 and secured an NBA-record 26th consecutive playoff series with at least one road win.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Five

It doesn't end there. He became the first player with at least 40 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in an NBA Finals game since Shaquille O'Neal in 2001 and passed L.A. Lakers legend Magic Johnson for ninth on the NBA Finals all-time scoring list.

He'll move up to at least eighth after game six with John Havlicek just seven points ahead.

James was booed with every touch he made with the basketball but that, coupled with the remarks by Klay Thompson and Marreesse Speights before the game about his role in Draymond's suspension, only fuelled him more and he had the last word by silencing the raucous crowd in the Bay.

With the chips stacked against him, the King always produces his best and showcased this once more against a historic Golden State team.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Five

The 31-year-old is on the verge of losing his third consecutive Finals and knows what will be said of his legacy if that were to happen.

He isn't prepared to give up, though, but will need to produce this level of performance again in Ohio to breathe more life into their title challenge.

No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. If LeBron manages to lead the Wine and Gold to the unthinkable, his greatness will be set in stone.

The Q will be the setting for an unmissable game six as this series refuses to end. Who are we to complain.

Topics:
Draymond Green
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Eastern Conference
Stephen Curry
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
LeBron James
Klay Thompson

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport - NBA Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again