The Cleveland Cavaliers did a masterful job of staying at it with their backs against the wall. They return home for Game 6 in Cleveland after winning Monday night 112-97 in front of a shocked Golden State sold out crowd.
The Golden State Warriors and 2015-16 MVP Stephen Curry had no answer for the James-Kyrie Irving tandem, who ran intense pick and roll nearly the entire game. Cleveland had seemed over-matched for most of the series, but they handed Golden State just their fourth home loss all year, winning by 15 points at Oracle Arena.
James had a masterful performance with 41 points (16-30), 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks. Irving made 17 of his 24 shots for 41 points, and the two stars performed at a level Golden State could not contain.
“We had a mindset that we wanted to come here and just extend our period and have another opportunity to fight for another day,” James said Monday night. “That was our main concern, and we were able to do that.”
The Cavs’ play on their home court will be of particular focus during game 6. Cleveland jumped out to a big lead at Quicken Loans Arena to cruise to a Game 3 win. But in Game 4, the Warriors earned a road win behind excellent 3-point shooting (47.2 percent) and free-throw shooting (80.6 percent) and out-rebounded the Cavs 43-40, as well as forcing three more turnovers.
Following James’ and Irving’s legendary performances, as well as the perplexing struggles of Curry and Thompson through the first three games, any outcome in Game 6 would hardly be surprising. But Golden State remains the better team, and James’ heroics might not be enough. I’m excited for game 7.
Prediction: Golden State 101, Cleveland 108.