In a series that has been far from pretty, the Cavaliers are facing elimination as the Warriors won Game 5 to take the series lead, 3-2.
The Golden State Warriors have played impressively in both of the last two games of these NBA Finals, with two double-digit victories to turn their deficit in the series into a lead.
While the Warriors are playing the best they have in these NBA Playoffs, the Cavaliers look to have run out of gas and need LeBron James to put the team on his back. Speaking of James, he may be one of the few players to win the NBA Finals MVP without winning the series. LeBron spoke of his goals in this series, which do not mention an NBA Finals MVP, he told ESPN.
“I wouldn’t feel good about it at all,” James said after the Cavs shootaround in advance of Game 6 on Tuesday night. “Because at the end of the day, I’m here to win a team prize, and that’s to win a championship, not an individual prize.”
In these NBA Finals, James is averaging 33.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. Through the first five games of the series, he has achieved two triple-doubles and three 40-point efforts. Some fans believe that makes him deserving of an NBA Finals MVP, even in defeat. James would be the first to accomplish this feat since Jerry West did so in 1969 when his Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in a series that went the distance.
One of the biggest controversies for the Cavaliers in Game 5 was the decision by David Blatt regarding playing time of center Timofey Mozgov. The Russian center was coming off a career-best 28 points in Game 4. Mozgov started Game 5, but was substituted just minutes after the game began. Mozgov got little playing time throughout the game. David Blatt defended his decision after Game 5 by stating that the game was closer when the Cavaliers played with a smaller line-up to match the Warriors.
A few fans defend David Blatt because even in the face of a dominant effort by Mozgov in Game 4 for the Cavaliers, the Warriors defeated them by 21, one of their biggest defeats of the season. While the Cavaliers remained close until the end in Game 5 without Mozgov in the rotation. a few fans expect Blatt to do the same in Game 6.
Nevertheless, the Warriors are playing their best basketball, and some expect them to come up with another victory on the road against the Cavaliers, in a similar fashion to Game 4, to end these NBA Finals.
The game will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
[Image Source: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images]