The Golden State Warriors are finding out that the fourth game of a best-of-seven series is always the hardest to win. The Warriors were downed by the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-97 at home at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on June 13th and gave the Cavs some hope. The two teams will now battle it out in game six at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Thursday, June 16th 2016. The Cavs still have their backs against the wall, but will at least have home court advantage and about 20,000 fans cheering them on in the building. If Cleveland is to stop the Warriors from winning their second straight NBA crown they’re going to have to do it by becoming the first team in history to rebound from a 3-1 Final series deficit.
Warriors vs Cavaliers Game 6 – bet365 Basketball Betting Line:
- bet365 lists Golden State +2.5 points at 10/11 with Cleveland -2.5 at 10/11 with the over at 207.5 points at 10/11. Cleveland is favored to win at 5/7 with Golden State 6/5
The Warriors were minus defensive stalwart Draymond Green as he was serving a one-game ban for committing four flagrant-foul points. Without him on the court, the Cavs’ LeBron James exploded for 41 points by shooting 16 for 30 and going four for eight on three-pointers. James also chipped in with seven assists, 16 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. According to the record books, James is the first player in the last 32 years to score 40 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in a Final series game. James wasn’t a one-man team though as Kyrie Irving was also at his best and matched his teammate in points with 41. Irving shot 17 for 24 with five out of seven three-pointers and added six assists.
The Warriors continue to struggle slightly when two-time MVP Stephen Curry can’t find his A game. Curry went eight for 21 in shooting for 25 points and was five for 14 in three-pointers. He also registered four assists, seven rebounds and three blocks. Klay Thompson had a fine outing though and led the Warriors by shooting 11 for 20 for 37 points and going six for 11 on three-pointers. Overall, many fans believe Irving may be the most effective star of the series so far, or has at least outplayed Curry, by scoring a minimum of 30 points in three consecutive games. Irving came through in the clutch when Cleveland’s lead was cut to half a dozen points with just under seven minutes to play.
Irving then took over by scoring the game’s next seven points and the Cavs were suddenly up by a big 13 points with five-and-a-half minutes remaining. With their performances, Irving and James became the first teammates to score at least 40 points in an NBA Finals contest. Irving and James needed to come up with big games since Kevin Love managed just a pair of points along with three rebounds in about 33 minutes of playing time. Love suffered a concussion earlier in the series, but Cavs’ head coach Tyronn Lue decided to start him in the must-win game five. For Cleveland to pull off game six though and force a seventh and deciding game, James and Irving will each have to come up with another elite performance and Curry will have to be kept in check.
James had his best half of the 2015/16 postseason with 25 points along with nine rebounds in the first 24 minutes. However, the Warriors’ Thompson bettered him with 26 points in the first half, which were more points than he had managed in any game of the series so far. The Cavs also caught a break when Golden State center Andrew Bogut sprained his left knee and was taken out of the game. With Bogut and Green missing, the Warriors couldn’t handle the red-hot Cleveland offense. Golden State will have three chances to close out this series if needed and Green will return for game six. In addition, they’ve lost two consecutive games just once this year. However, Bogut may still be missing in action, meaning this series is still up in the air.
by Ian S. Palmer