The Cleveland Cavaliers have extended the NBA Finals to Game 7. This is the result from a 115-101 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6, largely the outcome forged from LeBron James posting 41 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds. He played like a king, and some skeptics might say he received royal treatment fitting for a king, too.
Regardless, James and Cleveland earned the Game 6 result. They held Golden State to an 11-point first quarter and shot 51.9 percent from the floor compared to 40.2 percent for its opponent. Cleveland was 37 percent on threes and had 10 turnovers as the Warriors were 38.5 percent on triples and had 14 turnovers.
For the Warriors, where does one begin? Harrison Barnes had his second straight abysmal game, going 0-8 from the floor and 0-5 from deep for no points. Draymond Green didn’t have a massive impact despite a decent 8/10/6 line in 40 minutes. Stephen Curry, although he dropped 30 points, went 8-20 from the floor and was ejected in the fourth quarter for arguing a call.
The cause? Well, one could argue Curry received a horribly unfair whistle from the refs in Game 6, particularly when he drew what should’ve been a charge on James that was called a blocking foul during the first quarter. This forced Steve Kerr to take Curry out and helped Cleveland continue its early game explosion. Combine a poor team performance with a tough whistle and you have Curry being ejected for the first time in his career.
Beyond the aforementioned points, Andre Iguodala looked utterly unhealthy during his labored action. Klay Thompson heated up in the second half, but he was certainly late to the party. The Golden State starters didn’t perform up to a Finals level which was shown by the 31-11 first quarter. They did later cut the deficit to 8 and appear ready for a comeback, however, the terrible start simply became too difficult for the Warriors to overcome.
On Cleveland’s end, the victory can’t be discussed without mentioning Tristan Thompson. He was huge for the Cavaliers with his 15/16 double-double on 6-6 shooting. J.R. Smith also drilled 4 threes and totaled 14 points. Kyrie Irving had a major fall off from his Game 5 efficiency, an inevitability that was to be expected, but still had 23 points.
There are plenty of points of discussion heading into Game 7 resulting from what was just witnessed. We had not only Curry’s ejection, but LeBron’s smack talking toward Curry late in the game. There’s the notion that Cleveland no longer fears Golden State’s two-year aura of invincibility. The whole “anything can happen” in a Game 7 scenario is another inescapable thought, a far different climate than Cleveland being down 3-1.
But hyperbole or drifting from reality is not something you’ll find in my words. Game 7 will be in Oakland, and the Warriors haven’t lost three consecutively all season. They didn’t even lose two straight until the playoffs. Point being, yes, Game 6 was ugly for the Warriors, and there are plenty of alarming negative aspects (struggles from Barnes, Bogut/Iguodala’s health, Curry losing his poise), but the home team in a Game 7 situation always has a gigantic advantage.
Take your pick on which Game 6 dynamic to focus on. Whichever you choose, that doesn’t change the fact that fans will witness a Game 7. That will go down in Oakland on Sunday, 6/19 at 8:00 PM ET.
|9:00 PM ET, June 16, 2016
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio Attendance: 20,562
|A. Bogut||DNP — INACTIVE|
|K. Looney||DNP — INACTIVE|
|C. Frye||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|S. Kaun||DNP — INACTIVE|
|J. McRae||DNP — INACTIVE|
Officials: Scott Foster, Ken Mauer, Jason Phillips
Time of Game: 2:35
– S. Curry (4:22 – 4th Qtr)