LeBron James must have felt a liberated man without Draymond Green constantly breathing down his neck – man, that’s really annoying. The King had 41 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists in game 5 of the NBA Finals – leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 112-97 win that puts the series at 3-2 with the Golden State Warriors still in the lead – to the chagrin of the Oracle Arena hometown fans who failed to boo him out of the building, try as they might. Kyrie Irving scored another 41 points – making him and James the first teammates to score 40 points in an NBA Finals game – and added 6 assists. Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup for the first time after his concussion but only had 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist – fans betting on basketball can make of that what they will.
As the championship series shifts back to the Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs are favored to tie the series 3-3, according to SBG Global sportsbook:
Warriors +2½ (-110) 207½ (-110) +120
Cavaliers -2½ (-110) 207½ (-110) -140
Keep in mind, though, that Cleveland has been in this position before, and as GS coach Steve Kerr said, “I like our position a lot better than theirs.” Also keep in mind that Draymond Green will be back for game 6 on Thursday. The Warriors sorely missed the power forward though they didn’t go as far as pinning the loss on his absence. Still, it gives people betting on basketball plenty to think about when, earlier in the postseason, Golden State could win games and whole series with Stephen Curry out injured, and now they failed to wrap things up at home with Green out suspended. Curry had 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Klay Thompson scored 37 points. Additionally, Andre Iguodala had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists as a starter, but the Warriors lacked that intangible element that Green contributes to the proceedings – such as driving LeBron James mad.
Up to halftime, game 5 looked like it could go either way tied at 61 points apiece. Unfortunately for GS, the Splash Brothers must’ve relaxed a little too much during the break, because they came out shooting airballs and throwing bricks from behind the 3-point line. Golden State missed 14 of 2o shots and shot 7 for 24 in the 3rd quarter, finishing 36.4% from the field. Conversely, James and Irving shot 33 for 54, and were barely encumbered by the Warriors defense. When it was all said and done, the Cavs gave GS only their 4th home lose in the entire 2015-16 season – playoffs included. The question is, can the Warriors lose four games within a single postseason series. Fans betting on basketball can find that out at SBG Global sportsbook.