CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's do or die Thursday night for the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Sports Director Tony Zarrella has the six things you don't want to miss tonight.
They'll Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends
Nobody should expect LeBron and Kyrie to combine for 82 points again, but they shouldn't need to. If the Big 2 can hit for, say, 60, and Kevin Love and J.R. Smith combine to give us 30 (not unrealistic, considering Love's season average of 17/game and J.R.'s
ability earlier in the playoffs to go for at least 12), the Cavs have a shot tonight.
It still begins and ends with LeBron, of course, whose focus was at another level in Game 5, and who continues to put up historic numbers against the Warriors. James is averaging more than 32 points per game against Golden State in 11 Finals games (going
back to last year), and is averaging just below a triple-double. No reason to think those numbers dip tonight.
The Cavaliers were wise to have LeBron basically play point guard at times, and keep Kyrie off the ball, which then freed Irving up to get the ball in space and have open looks. And he converted. Kyrie couldn't miss in Game 5, matching LeBron's 41 points
and proving once again that when he does drive to the hoop, he's a magician around the rim.
Let's be honest. One of the reasons the Cavaliers were able to drive at will was the absence of Draymond Green, who was serving his one-game suspension, and Andrew Bogut, who went down with a knee injury. Green is back. Bogut won't be, which defensively
is a big loss for the Warriors. He only plays about 16 minutes per game, but he's forces the Cavs to change their game with his shot-blocking ability. Not anymore.
So with Bogut out, the Warriors will simply do more of what they do best: go small. They're at their best when they have Iguodala, Green and Barnes on the floor with Curry and Thompson. The good news? LeBron can guard Green. The question is, who can Love
keep up with defensively? We'll get the answer to that question early tonight. If it's "nobody," then Ty Lue has to make a quick adjustment.
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