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After a disappointing Game 3 performance from the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron and Co. came out the gates firing on all cylinders in Game 4, winning 137-116, giving their home fans something to cheer for heading back into Oakland for Game 5. Now being down 3-1 is something that the Cavs are accustomed to in the NBA Finals, but can they do the unthinkable and battle back from a 3-0 deficit? Will the Warriors allow pandemonium to happen once again by not closing the series out and having to play a Game 6 or possibly a Game 7?

Well it starts with Game 5, LeBron and Kyrie have been giving the Warriors defense troubles the past two games and are looking to do the same throughout the series. While for the Golden State Warriors, home cooking has been everything for them, tearing up the Cavs by a whopping 41 points in Games 1 and 2.

Here are 3 Key Matchups to look out for in Game 5…

  1. LeBron vs the different defensive looks of  Golden State
  • Although LeBron is averaging a Triple-Double in the series (31.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 10.5 apg) the amount of energy that is being exerted is unreal, LeBron is averaging 41 minutes per game, and being guarded by Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala doesn’t help either. Let’s see if James can sustain playing at a high level with these different looks coming at him throughout the game.

 

  1. The Cavaliers Bench vs the Warriors Bench
  • In the first three games of this series the Warriors bench have been outplaying the Cavaliers 2nd unit, the lack of production from Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, and Deron Williams hurt the Cavaliers especially in their Game 3 collapse, when LeBron sat on the bench during the 4th quarter and the Warriors went on a crucial 11-0 run. Yet in Game 4, the Cavs benched stepped up to give Irving and James some support, by hitting shots that they desperately needed in the games prior. In Game 5 expect both benches to play a huge role, especially Shaun Livingston who can create mismatches with his size going against smaller guards and Andre Iguodala who can do a little bit of everything for GSW. For Cleveland, it will be a combo of Kyle Korver spreading the floor to hit open threes created by James and Irving and Deron Williams, who was virtually a ghost from games 1-3 to play productive minuets for the Cavaliers.
  1. Stephen Curry bounce back vs Kyrie Irving playing hot
  • Both point guards have been sensational to watch in this Finals, both Curry and Irving have been putting up some serious numbers through the first 4 games (Curry 25 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 9.25 apg and Irving 30.25 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4 apg). Both have also been destroying defenses at home in this series. In Game 4 we saw Steph’s poorest shooting and scoring contest of the series, only scoring 14 pts on 4-13 shooting. We should see the former 2-time MVP step his game up at home, with the roaring crowd of Oracle behind him, one or two quick threes can get him back in rhythm. On the other side, Kyrie Irving has been torching the Warriors inside and in Games 3 and 4, Uncle Drew was the scoring machine that the Cavs hopeful is accustom to seeing, putting up 38 and 40 points. He has struggled in Oakland in the first two games of the series, but as scorching hot as he has been, we might see fireworks coming from #2 in Game 5 at Oracle.

 

Written By: Daniel Malakismail 

6.12.2017