It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Cleveland Cavaliers, employers of LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving. They weren't supposed to be counting on Tristan Thompson post-ups in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. And yet this Cavs team, given every opportunity to look adversity in the eye and a summer that promises rehabilitation and rest and hopefully some relaxation, has answered the call each time.
It just wasn't enough in Game 5. With the game very much in line for the taking, Stephen Curry was too good. Andre Iquodala's defense was just enough. Harrison Barnes made just enough plays, on both ends. Tristan Thompson's offensive game was just a bit raw. Iman Shumpert, gutting through injury, made awkward plays offensively. J.R. Smith kept the Cavs in it in the first half, played good defense. Couldn't score in the second half to help.
This game was closer than the final score indicates, but that doesn't change the effect.
Warriors 104, Cavaliers 91.
It honestly would be hard for me to point out Cavs that didn't play well in this game. The Cavs are LeBron James, and role players being asked to do too much. None of them are floundering. Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson contested Steph Curry shot after Steph Curry shot. He kept making them.
And LeBron James. Wow. 40 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists. He made shots from all over the court. He made great passes. He was insanely good. He controlled large portions of the game. Curry stole just enough of them.
The Cavs are now down 3-2, but the series moves back to Cleveland. The home crowd will be a boon, but the Cavs will have just one day of rest. If they can win, it forces things back to Oakland. We'll have all your coverage, but it's worth noting what the team has done to force it back to Cleveland. This team has found a way to keep up the pressure and energy.
Do they have enough to force a Game 7?