CLEVELAND, Sporting Alert – The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals on Thursday when they host the Golden State Warriors in Game 6.
Defending champions Warriors lead the seven-game series 3-2 heading into the Quicken Loans Arena and can wrap up the championships with a fourth victory on the road.
However, after their heroic showing in Game 5, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are primed to deliver again.
The All-Star duo combined to score 82 points in the Cavaliers’ 112-97 victory at Golden State on Monday night, and were particularly impressive in the second half.
James finished with 41 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks for the Cavs, with Irving adding 41 points and 6 assists in the win.
But while Kyrie and LeBron were outstanding, there has to be some concern with the form other club’s third superstar, Kevin Love, who has been struggling so far in the season.
Love, who is averaging 8.8 points and shooting 37.1-percent from the field in his four games played against the Warriors in the NBA Finals this year, had just 2 points in almost 33 minutes on the court in Game 5.
And while his teammates, including Tristan Thompson, who grabbed 15 rebounds in Game 5, have stepped up to fill the void, the star power forward who is averaging 18.3 points and 11.5 in his career, must begin to earn his keep.
Love returned to the Cavs starting lineup in Game 5 for the first time since sustaining a concussion in Game 2 on June 5.
James remains confident in his teammates abilities to deliver.
“We just want him to go out and play,” the four-time MVP said.
Meanwhile, after missing Game 5 due to suspension, the Warriors will welcome back starting forward Draymond Green.
Green missed the last contest while serving a one-game suspension, but will return for the road trip and James, who will more than likely be guarded by the 26-year-old, is expecting a tougher battle.
The former Michigan State star will return on Thursday to combine with the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson, who scored 37 points and had six 3-pointers in the last game and Stephen Curry, who added 25 points with five 3-pointers in Game 5.
Green told reporters after the last contest that if he had been in the lineup for the last game, there wouldn’t have been a Game 6.
With such a bold statement, Green could have very well put himself under a lot of pressure to produce on Thursday night, especially since injured centre Andrew Bogut is out for the rest of the season.
Golden State is looking to become only the second team in NBA history to win the championships on the same opponent’s court. The reigning champions would join the Celtics who did it against the LA Lakers in 1968 and 1969.
The Cavaliers are seeking to become the third team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-1 in the series.
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Lead NBA Finals against Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2
Game 6, Today, 9:00 PM ET on ABC
Pre Game is on ESPN Radio, 8:30 PM
Live GameCast on ESPN.com