Kyrie Irving (41 points, 6 assists, 2 steals, 17-24 FG, 5-7 3pt) had the best game of his pro basketball career on Monday as the Cleveland Cavaliers stunned the Golden State Warriors 112-97 to escape Oracle Arena with a victory to reduce the NBA Finals series deficit to 3-2.
Kyrie Irving, LeBron James take over
Irving was ably supported by LeBron James (41 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks), who surprised Warriors defenders by hitting four three pointers besides a barrage of jump shots. In recent years, James has been criticized for not keeping defenders honest with his pull-up jumper. It seemed like James resurrected that aspect of his game at a time when his team needed a boost. |Final Box Score|
For the Warriors, Klay Thompson had an amazing outing with 37 points including 6-11 from deep but Stephen Curry shot poorly from three (5-14) for his 25 points. Andre Igudala, inserted into the starting lineup due to Draymond Green’s suspension, had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. None of the other Warriors starters scored in double digits.
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Harrison Barnes disappoints…
Harrison Barnes had a forgettable outing, going 2-14 overall and 1-6 from deep for his 5 points. The Warriors bench, their biggest strength of the series, combined for just 15 points.
Warriors, the reigning NBA champions, definitely missed Green’s hustle and energy on the glass, besides his elite defense. While Igudala stepped up to the plate, the Warriors allowed the Cavs to shoot an incredible 54 per cent from the field and 43 per cent from deep.
Warriors center Andrew Bogut exited the game in the third quarter after spraining his left knee. Bogut landed awkwardly on his left leg after stopping JR Smith from converting a layup. The Australian grabbed his knee and grimaced in pain before being helped off the court.
The series now shifts to Cleveland for Game 6. No team has ever returned from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals. Are Kyrie Irving and Cavs about to make history? Game 7 (if necessary) will be on Sunday.
Stay tuned for the complete report.