As DJ Khaled would say, the NBA Finals stands at 3-1 advantage Golden State for the second year in a row.
The rubber match turned a bit soiled once the Warriors went up 3-0 and determined to sweep on the Cavaliers on their home floor. Nonetheless, a Lebron James triple-double forced another one.
Game 5 is tonight and here are a few keys to watch for:
Kyrie Irving – If his at will scoring translates over to Game 5, Cleveland will need him at his absolute best assuming that James is leading the way. The Robin or perhaps the Batman of the duo at times. In the two games in Cleveland, he averaged 39 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while maintaining 55-percent shooting from the floor. Not afraid of the big moments he will have to play the best basketball of his career should the Cavaliers stay in contention for a title this series.
Tristan Thompson – Thompson pulled in 10 rebounds in Game 4 which was one less than he achieved in the first three games (11). Another Cavalier player that can change the game with his aggressiveness on the front-line. His ability to play 35 minutes in Game 4 allow Thompson the opportunity to impact the game.
Stephen Curry – An easily forgettable Game 4 as he shot 2-of-9 from the three-point. Look for Curry to shoot better at home. The Cavaliers defense was not necessarily breathing in Curry’s face as he missed a few open opportunities in Game 4.
Three-point shooting – The expectation is for Cleveland to level out on their three-point shooting. The Cavaliers connected on 24 three-point field goals in Game 4 which is an NBA Finals record. This also helped them achieve an 86-point first half.
Officiating – The talk town the town was how horrible the officiating was pending which side of the fence you stood on for Game 4. Should both teams come out and be aggressive equally expect the officiating to appear more equal. Cleveland threw punches in Game 4 however, expect Golden State to come out with the retaliation punches in Game 5.
Who has the pressure?
Golden State has an opportunity to put the nail in the coffin and put a stop to the 3-1 memes. As Steph Curry says, “the past is the past”, the Warriors will have all the pressure to put away LeBron James and company. Of course, the Cavaliers, in a must-win scenario, will have the pressure of avoiding their season from ending ringless.
Game 5 is tonight in Golden State. Tip-off is at 9 PM EST.