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84 points man. 84 points from the Cavs Big Three. Folks, let me tell you something… When you get 84 points from your top three scorers, you’ve got a pretty good chance to win that game. That’s what Russell, Cousy, & Hondo would give you. That’s what Wilt, West, & Elgin would give you. That’s what Frazier, Monroe, & Reed would give you. That’s what Magic, Kareem, & Worthy would give you. That’s what Bird, McHale, & Parish would give you. That’s what Jordan, Pippen, & Grant/Rodman would give you. Shaq & Kobe won when the league was watered down and are both historically overrated. That’s what Duncan, Parker, & Manu would give you. That’s what KG, Pierce, & Allen would give you. That’s what Lebron, Wade, & Bosh would give you.
And that’s what Lebron, Kyrie, and Love did last night. Special, special performance from those three.
For all the hardship of the last two seasons… all the passive aggressive shots in the media… all the Instagram controversy… all the on-court bickering… all the locker room tension… all the articles blatantly begging Carmelo to come to Cleveland… all the outward regret of trading a 20-year-old prototypical wing athlete on a rookie contract to pay a guy $120 million to sit in the corner and/or slow the offense to a halt in the post while simultaneously bringing nothing to the table defensively…
Last night made it all worth it. Last night was why Lebron came to play with Kyrie and Kevin. Last night was basketball nirvana. And if those three can in some way replicate their combined performances from last night… folks, the Cavs might just win this series.
“84 Combined, Bron! Strive for Greatness”
“Fuck did you say to me Kevin? What the fuck do you do here? Tell Ty I want RJ in”
Real talk though… that was an AWESOME game. So much fucking fun. Such a great game that I kind of feel bad ragging on Kevin Love and his trashiness because it takes away from everything else that was great about last night. I wanted to do winners and losers from last night, but I’m in such a good mood from awesome basketball that I’m forgoing the losers section. There’s plenty of time to get into Steph and whatever the fuck has happened there, the impact of Bogut’s injury, Kevin Love’s outward hatred of being a part of the Cavaliers, and so on. Right now let’s just shoutout the dudes who won last night.
Draymond Green… very important to the Warriors. I think last night confirmed that. I still think Lebron and Kyrie could’ve had similar games with Draymond on the court. But the lack of rim protection absolutely plays into it.
I think we have to wait a full year for Game 6, so there’s plenty of time to get into the impact he’ll have in upon return later this week.
4. Jerry West, Steve Kerr, Flip Saunders, basically anyone who didn’t want Kevin Love on their team…
First of all… Flip Saunders (RIP), man did that dude win the Wiggins-Love trade. Holy shit. Just as a straight-up one-for-one swap nobody would take Love for Wiggins right now. And that all goes without mentioning that the trade and the subsequent tanked season from Minny landed them the best big man prospect (besides, of course, Kristaps Porzingis) since Tim Duncan in Karl-Anthony Towns.
But even more importantly… how about West and Kerr and everyone on the Warriors involved in not trading Klay for Kevin Love? I mean think about the effect that move would’ve had on the Warriors roster. Draymond probably never gets a chance there and gets traded… Steph is put at greater injury risk with Klay there to guard the best perimeter players… That defense with Love and Kevin Martin? instead of two all-world defenders in Klay & Dray is absolutely atrocious… There’s a lot less transition three pointers for Steph… There’s a lot less ball movement and a lot more standing around watching Love in the post… There’s no “historic, transcendent” backcourt shooting duo… and god knows what else.
I mean, just look at this shit…
His game will probably be lost in history behind Lebron and Kyrie… but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Yes, this is Steph’s team. He’s still the second best player in the world. And yes, Draymond is still the “heartbeat” and the driving force of the Warriors entire system and essence. But nobody has been more important than Klay this postseason. It’s not exactly a bold statement here, but dude has absolutely transformed into a top 10 player in this league. Forget “great two-way player”, forget “transcendent shooter”, forget “elite defender”. Let’s just call it what it is… he’s probably the 8th or 9th best player in the league. Put him on his own team and he’s every bit as impactful as anyone outside of Lebron-Steph-Durant-Russ-CP3-Kawhi group, with respect to Anthony Davis coming off injury and Kristaps “future seven-time MVP” Porzingis. Put it this way… if you trade him straight up for Harden, is there any way that Rockets team wins less that 55 games this year? Absolutely not. Klay is a top ten player in this league. Bonafide Superstar.
Credit where credit is due man. It’s easy to rag on Kyrie and his complete and utter refusal to learn how to play pick-and-roll defense, or get over screens, or to even really try to stay in front of guys.
But for as bad as he is defensively, dude is that skilled as a scorer. That was an unreal performance. That was some Kobe-esque shit. He hit shots, over Klay fucking Thompson no less, that maybe three other players in the world could hit. He’s probably never going to figure it out defensively. And he’ll never be a “true point guard”, which doesn’t really matter because Lebron is. But as a pure scorer, when he’s on like he was last night, it’s almost impossible to stop that. And if he can give even 85% of what he did last night in Game 6, this series is going back to Golden State.
Sure, Kyrie closed the door last night. And Kyrie’s performance kept them alive every bit as much as Lebron’s. But if Lebron doesn’t come out and have that performance from the start last night, Golden State runs away with that game on Klay Thompson’s back before we even reach the half.
Series on the line, season on the line, there’s still nothing quite like “Absolutely Locked In” Lebron. Game 5 in Detroit, Game 6 in Boston, Game 7 vs. San Antonio, Games 2&3 vs. Golden State last year. There’s nothing like that. Nobody… not Curry, not Durant, not Klay or Harden or Russ or whoever… nobody can own a game like that. To just physically dominate the opponent… to get to the hole at will… then hit jumpers when the defense sags off… and then get back to the hole when they have to step out and respect the J. Nobody else can do that at their peak like Lebron can.
And now, regardless of how the rest of this series plays out, you have to put last night’s game in there. Even if they lose this series, that singular performance, against that team, against that defender in Iggy – that’s an all time moment.
Now, I don’t know if anything can top Game 6, in Boston, with that crowd, against the Big Three, facing a potential breakup of Lebron-Wade-Bosh in just their second year, against his biggest rivals, in his Jordan-vs-Detroit moment, with that homicidal look on his face. The historical significance of that moment… that’s probably his signature game forever. But if he can pull this off… against the 73-win Warriors, coming back from a 3-1 deficit for the first time in NBA history, facing arguably the best wing defender (at the very least, the best Lebron defender) of this last generation, winning games 5 AND 7 in Golden State… this game 5 might stand out over Boston Game 6. It didn’t necessarily have that feel in the moment – I don’t think any Lebron Game will after that one in Boston. But it would be looked at as the catalyst to start the greatest series comeback in NBA history. And that might historcally put it over the top.
The thing is… with Draymond now back to protect the rim… I think he might honestly need to match that performance two more times to win this series. Maybe he gets another Kyrie game, maybe he gets a hot-JR at home game on Thursday, maybe Kevin Love figures something out. I don’t know. But I know that he almost certainly needs to go somewhere around 40-12-8 these next two games to keep them alive.
So maybe the best is yet to come.
Shit, we’ve seen it before…
P.S. Shoutout to the Warriors fans going all in on the whole “Crybaby Lebron” thing. Great work Dub Nation.
Thougt I have to give credit to this lady… SAVAGE fake cry game. This one might’ve gotten in Bron’s head if he saw it.
P.P.S. I can’t stop laughing at the visual of some tech nerd walking out of The Oracle having spent like 20% of his startup money on 9000th row tickets for last night’s game.