James, Irving each have 41, force Game 6

June 14th, 2016 by Staff

(sports.yahoo.com)

 

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Booed every time he touched the ball, LeBron James cut through Golden State’s defense and made layups look easy. Dunks and 3-pointers, so smooth, too.

And Kyrie Irving also completely had his way with the Warriors.

King James and Irving thoroughly overpowered the defending champions from every spot on the floor, and the Cavaliers are still alive to chase that elusive championship.

The unflappable, determined-as-ever James had 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, Irving also scored 41 points and Cleveland capitalized on the absence of suspended star Draymond Green, staving off NBA Finals elimination with a 112-97 victory in Game 5 on Monday night.

”We had a mindset that we wanted to come here and just extend our period and have another opportunity to fight for another day,” James said. ”That was our main concern, and we were able to do that.”

James and Irving became the first teammates to score 40 points in an NBA Finals game as the Cavaliers pulled within 3-2 and sent their best-of-seven series back to Ohio.

Afterward, sitting side by side on the podium, they offered back-and-forth shoutouts, with James noting of Irving, ”It’s probably one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen live.”

Take that, haters. James has much more to say about these playoffs before he’s done – and not with his mouth, even as the criticism came from all directions following his Game 4 tussle with Green and reaction to what he considered the Golden State forward’s inappropriate words. James was booed again as the Cavs left the court for their locker room, but thousands of fans had already made for the exits minutes earlier.

”Now, mind you, to repeat a performance like this would definitely be tough, but whatever it takes to win,” Irving said.

Cleveland handed Golden State just its fourth defeat all season at sold-out Oracle Arena, denying MVP Stephen Curry and the Warriors a chance to celebrate another championship with their golden-clad ”Strength In Numbers” supporters. Now, Curry and Co. must try to win on the road, just the way the Warriors did last year and also in their only other championship season out West in 1975.

The Warriors will get Green back Thursday as they try again for that repeat title.

”I kind of like our position,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”… I like our position a lot better than theirs.”

Banned from the arena, Green watched from a baseball suite in the Oakland Coliseum next door, joined by Golden State general manager Bob Myers.

The All-Star forward was suspended Sunday for his fourth flagrant point of the postseason. He was assessed a retroactive Flagrant-1 for his swipe at James in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Game 4.

Tied 61-all at halftime Monday, the Warriors missed 14 of their first 20 shots out of intermission and shot 7 for 24 in the third as James and the Cavs grabbed command by doing all of the little things on both ends of the floor – the very intangibles Golden State desperately missed without Green’s high-energy presence on both ends. James jumped in the passing lanes to create defensive havoc, flipped passes around and got open.


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