KELLY – I really thought that despite Draymond Green’s absence the Warriors were going to do it. They were going to take Game 5 at home and put an end to the series. However, two men stood in their way – LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
And despite the fact that Lebron James had 41 incredible points and 16 rebounds and two blocks – I’m giving my star of the game to Kyrie Irving. Believe me, this is no knock on Lebron. None at all, he played an absolutely incredible game, but – this probably sounds terrible – I expected a performance like this from him. I expected him to try his damn best to keep his team alive and he did.
But what I didn’t expect was for him to get help and that help came from Kyrie. I didn’t expect Kyrie to come into Oracle Arena and light the place on fire. He also put up 41 points (first time ever for teammates to put up that many points), shooting 17 for 24 and 5 for 7 from three. That’s his third straight game with at least 30 points and he put on a show.
I thought he was well-defended at times too and he just couldn’t miss. He also decided to play defense – maybe his impressive offensive performance helped with that. When he’s this on fire AND not terrible on defense – he’s an excellent asset for the Cavs and a great second option to James.
Look at those moves and with decent defense from Klay Thompson. He gets my star, sorry LeBron.
Max: Kyrie made my jaw drop on more than one occasion tonight. His shot-making was way, way off the charts. But, to me, the game felt more like this:
Kyrie was the one who closed it out, but LeBron got the Cavs there. He played an incredible game, finishing with 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. He faded a little down the stretch, missing his final few shots, but he put up all those numbers while also anchoring a great Cavs defensive effort. Oh, and he did it all while being booed relentlessly by a particularly riled up Warriors’ crowd.
James orchestrated the game beautifully. He pointed out defensive assignments and made adjustments, and struck the perfect balance between attacking off the dribble and pulling up for the jumpshot. No other player in the league could have submitted played that kind of game- dropping 40 and protecting the rim for 43 minutes.
Before the game, there were plenty of calls for LeBron to “take over.” I think that might’ve been as close as 31-year-old James can get. He was more efficient than he’d been all playoffs (he made four of his eight three-point attempts) and attacked a weakened Warriors defense with precision.
It was an all-time great performance from one of the game’s greatest players ever.