After being down 3-1 in the series, almost everyone thought that the NBA Finals would be a flashback of Cavs last year’s 4-2 loss to the Warriors. Nonetheless, LeBron James looks determined to make his sixth consecutive Finals appearance worthy.
On Thursday’s Game 6, James embraced his responsibility as the team leader and scored a total of 41 points and collected 11 assists. He also performed four steals, three blocks and grabbed eight rebounds in Cleveland’s 115-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Now, LeBron and the Cavaliers could pull off what no team in the NBA history has been able to: come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and win the championship. At the same time, they could ruin Warriors historic 73-win season.
Even though Stephen Curry has played well, the two-time NBA MVP’s skills appear to be fading away during these crucial matches. After shooting 64.5 percent inside 5 feet this season, Curry is now shooting 45.5 percent from that distance, in the Finals. While on the other side of the court, in the last two consecutive elimination games against the Warriors, LeBron James scored a total of 82 points on 32-of-57 shooting (56.1%), grabbed 24 rebounds and delivered 18 assists.
In spite of having been hit first and good, the Cavaliers were able to recover from the Warriors’ solid blows and performed an accurate, counter attack. Now, the match is even, but the Cavs could have an advantage as they are motivated and their offensive could have harmed the Warriors.
Not only Curry ended up with his right knee heavily bandaged, but during the closing minutes of Game 6, James and the Cavs had the Warriors pinned against the ropes. Stephen Curry couldn’t hold his frustration any longer and got himself expelled from the match, after hitting a fan with his mouthpiece. Curry threw it away in complaint after he was called for his six personal fouls.
Curry was fined $25.000 for his actions, but the controversy didn’t stop there. Steve Kerr was also fined $25,000 for public criticism of the officiating during his press conference following the same game. If that wasn’t enough, to rub a little salt in the wound, Curry’s wife, Ayesha, -apparently upset over the calls her husband received- was in the news for tweeting NBA conspiracy theories. And so the online world grew quite noisy around Stephen Curry.
According To The Odds
These struggles and controversies, plus the already upsetting game results for the Warriors, could play some negative mind games on the defending champs, and the Cavs could take advantage of the winner takes all Final NBA game. Nonetheless, major sportsbooks around the world, still have the Warriors favorite to win the Championship.
It is expected that the Warriors will open up at home as an early five-point favorite against the Cavaliers, but it is almost for sure that the Game 7 is Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, 8 p.m. ET.