Back-to-back championship and a do-or-die game.
That was the storyline of Game 5 as the Cleveland Cavaliers handled the Golden State Warriors at 120-90 to stave off elimination on Tuesday,
The Warriors and the fans entered the game outraged by Draymond Green’s suspension, after the NBA league ruled Sunday that he made “unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe” at LeBron James’s groin in Game 4.
As brutal as the suspension is, Green had three flagrant foul points including instances when he was dinged for throwing down Houston Rockets’ Michael Beasley during the regular season and another groin-related incident with Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams. He also tripped Enes Kanter, although no penalty was assigned to that act.
Both teams were neck and neck during a high-paced first half. Klay Thompson was key for the Golden State Warriors in the first half, posting 26 points and leading the team with 37 points overall.
But the Cavs answered back by an outstanding performance from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, who became the first teammates to score at least 40 points in an NBA Finals game.
James finished with 41 points (16 of 30), 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks while Irving added 41 points (17 of 24), along with 6 assists.
The Golden State suffered another blow in the third quarter when center Andrew Bogut went down with a left knee injury, after blocking a shot by Cavs guard J.R. Smith. Bogut will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
The Golden State is still one win away to clinch the second consecutive NBA championship title and history isn’t on the Cavaliers side, with no team managing to come back and win the NBA title after trailing 3-1 in a series.
But still the Cavs is the favorite to win Game 6 at 1-point over Golden State at 1+ point when it returns to Cleveland on Thursday.