NBA Finals, Game 6
Tip-off: Thursday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Cleveland -2.5, Total: 207.5
The Cavaliers will be hoping to force a Game 7 when they host the Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday.
Cleveland seemed like it was heading towards a Game 5 loss in this series, but PF Draymond Green was suspended and the Cavaliers took advantage of it. With no Green, the Warriors were vulnerable defensively and Cleveland was able to win Game 5 112-97 as a 5.5-point underdog at Oracle Arena.
The Cavaliers shot 53.0% from the floor in the game and they also held the Warriors to just 36.4% shooting. They’ll be hoping they can keep that up when they host Golden State on Thursday, but Green will be back in the lineup for this contest.
C Andrew Bogut (Knee), however, is out for the remainder of the series for Golden State, so not all is well for the Warriors.
One trend that does favor the team is that Golden State is 23-8 ATS when revenging a loss where its opponent scored 100 or more points over the past two seasons.
The Warriors are also 14-4 ATS after having lost two of their past three games over the past two seasons.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are an impressive 20-9 ATS when playing only their second game in five days. They also happen to be completely healthy coming into this pivotal Game 6.
The Warriors had complete control of this series after winning Game 4 in Cleveland, but they were dealt a huge blow with PF Draymond Green (15.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.9 BPG, 1.6 SPG in playoffs) being suspended in Game 5. Green is the best defender that Golden State has and he is the guy that makes their small-ball lineup so dangerous.
The Warriors lost without him in Game 5, but he’ll be back to give them another shot at winning the championship on Thursday. Green will be well rested coming into the game and he’ll surely play with a ton of passion in this one. It is, however, important that he stays out of foul trouble. With Bogut out, Green will be the guy that plays most of the Warriors’ minutes at center and the team can’t afford to lose him anymore.
The play of PG Stephen Curry (25.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) will also come a long way in determining the outcome of this game. Curry has been miserable in the Finals, shooting just 42.4% from the floor and averaging 4.4 turnovers per game. Golden State needs the MVP to start knocking down shots at a higher clip, but he also needs to take much better care of the ball on Thursday.
One guy that has been doing his job has been SG Klay Thompson (24.7 PPG, 1.0 SPG in playoffs). Thompson did everything he could to keep Golden State in Game 5, pouring in 37 points in 41 minutes of action. He’s been knocking down threes consistently and will need to continue to play his solid brand of two-way basketball on Thursday.
The Cavaliers are coming off of a gutsy victory over the Warriors in Game 5 of the Finals and the reason Cleveland was able to win was because of heroic performances from both SF LeBron James (25.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 BPG in playoffs) and PG Kyrie Irving (25.3 PPG, 4.9 APG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs).
James had 41 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and three steals in 43 minutes of action in Game 5. He was an impressive 16-for-30 from the field in that one, but Irving might have been even better.
The young guard poured in 41 points on 17-for-24 shooting from the field in that game and also dished out six assists and had two steals. If Irving can continue to outplay Stephen Curry in this series then it’s extremely possible that the Cavaliers will end up completing the comeback to win this series.
The team will, however, need PF Kevin Love (15.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG in playoffs) to play a bit better on Thursday. He had just two points in 33 minutes of action on Monday and he is capable of playing a lot better than that.