NBA Finals: James, Cavaliers Force a Game 7

NBA Finals Despite the return of Draymond Green to their lineup for Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were unable to close out the series, falling to the Cavaliers 101-115. Green, who is considered the spiritual leader of the team, at least as far as bringing intensity and passion are concerned; was unable to join his team in Game 5 after being suspended by the league for a flagrant foul. It was clear that the Warriors missed him on both ends of the floor. The value of Green’s versatility as a player cannot overstated. At times, it felt that cards were stacked against Golden State coming into this game. Even with Draymond back in the lineup, the Warriors lost Aussie big man Andrew Bogut in Game 5 after he injured his knee. Bogut was their defensive anchor in the paint and his absence in Game 6 was evident in the discrepancies in the rebounds and blocks categories.

LeBron James

Credit still has to go to LeBron James in this one. He willed his team to victory with his second-straight 40-point outburst. He dropped 41 points in this game, handed out 11 assists, and grabbed eight rebounds. He shot a solid 3-of-6 from three-point range and was a monster on the defensive end, netting four steals and three blocks. One of his blocks was an emphatic one over Stephen Curry who was driving for a layup. James immediately punctuated the defensive gem with an exchange of a few words and some intimidating stares aimed at Curry’s direction after the fact.

Kevin Love, who has been having an awful Playoffs so far, was noticeably quiet in his 12 minutes on the floor. It was Tristan Thompson who stepped up big in this game. Without Bogut to put a body on him, Thompson rose to the occasion with 15 points and 16 boards.

Frustration was clearly consuming reigning MVP, Stephen Curry. He tossed his mouthpiece into the stands, hitting a fan, after receiving his sixth foul with 4:22 left in regulation. At least three of his fouls were questionable, at least as far coach Steve Kerr was concerned. Despite being slowed by foul trouble Curry still finished the game with a team-high 30 points. Aside from Curry, only Klay Thompson and Leandro Barbosa managed to score in double figures for Golden State, with 25 and 14 points, respectively.

At the end of it all, the 2016 NBA Finals will boil down to ONE game. Game 7. It will be held in Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ home turf. Will their fans be able to energize them enough to claim their back-to-back NBA title, or will LeBron James finally be able to bring the Cleveland Cavaliers their long-awaited prize?

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