2016 NBA Finals: LeBron James' mighty performance helps Cavaliers force Game 7
King James shines once again in a Playoff elimination game.
Golden State Warriors 101-115 Cleveland Cavaliers [Series tied 3-3]
Courtesy of a rout at home in Game 6, the Cleveland Cavaliers became just the third team in NBA history, and first since the NBA-ABA merger, to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals after trailing 3-1 at one point. The Cavaliers seemed done after the home loss in Game 4 but huge back to back 40 point performances from LeBron Jameshave turned this series around.
Becoming the first player since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to post back to back 40 point games, James also had 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks in Game 6. He contributed for the Cavaliers all across the stat sheet and even scored 18 consecutive for Cleveland at one point: last 8 points of the third quarter and the first 10 of the final period.
Although James’ Game 6 performance puts him alongside the greats of the game, he did receive some help from the likes of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Irving had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks while center Thompson had 15 points, 16 rebounds and 3 assists on 6 of 6 shot attempts.
Right from the first buzzer, Cleveland seemed the more desperate team and it showed in the box scores after the first quarter. They came out with more energy and were aggressive on both ends of the floor.
The Cavaliers not only had 31 points after the first 12 minutes but they also restricted the defending champs to their lowest quarter point total all season:While the Cavaliers were rolling behind big games from James and Irving, the Warriors found it hard to get going, reminiscent of their lacklustre start to Game 3 of this series.
Stephen Curry did have 30 points but the league MVP was battling foul trouble all game, eventually being forced leave the court after he was ejected from the game on his first technical foul. His splash brother Klay Thompson did finish with 25 points but found his rhythm too late to help his team in a significant manner.
After missing out on Game 5 with a suspension, Draymond Green returned to the line-up registering 8 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Off the bench, Leandro Barbosa chipped in 14 quick points on 4 of 6 shooting in 18 minutes but other than that, Golden State got no consistent production from anybody else. Harrison Barnes failed to show up, putting up just 2 rebounds and a block as he shot 0 of 8 in his 17 minutes on the floor.
Last year’s Finals MVP Andre Iguodala was playing with a stiff back and could be seen limping on the floor. During all his time on the court in the second half, he barely contested for a rebound or attempt to rise up and shoot, looking to pass the ball to the open shooter.
Some stats for Game 7
Looking forward, this Game 7 will be the second consecutive for the Warriors after the one they played against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
There are a couple of stats that favour the Warriors on Sunday: home teams are 15-3 in Game 7’s of the Finals and teams with the league MVP have won 18 straight Game 7’s overall. On the other hand for LeBron James, he is an overall 3-2 in career Game 7’s (3-0 with the Miami Heat and 0-2 with the Cavaliers).
Game 7 will be played on Sunday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.