2016 NBA Finals – Game 5

LeBron and Kyrie make history.

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Tonight, the entire NBA Playoffs could come to an end. The Warriors are one win away from wrapping up their second consecutive championship. That’s actually been slightly overshadowed by the Draymond Green/LeBron James ruckus. In Game 4, Green hit the ground, and LeBron stepped over him, incensing Green so much that he hit LeBron in the nuts, and took another swing at him before the two squared off. After the NBA reviewed the incident, Green was suspended for tonight, as it pushed him over the magic limit of flagrant foul points that one can accrue during the Playoffs before an automatic suspension. This has caused quite the row, with the Warriors players calling LeBron James a crybaby, and people arguing over whether or not James could handle the older, more rugged days of the NBA. On top of that, people are upset Green was suspended, claiming it only happened because he went after LeBron. Also, James claims Green called him a bitch, which crossed a line, furthering people’s doubt that LeBron would survive in the olden days of the NBA. Also, LeBron claims that he didn’t step over Green on purpose. What a mess!

I think it’s clear that LeBron did step over Draymond on purpose. It’s one of the most disrespectful thing a man can do to another man on the basketball court. I think he did it because he knew, as did the rest of us, including Green, knew that Draymond was one incident away from getting a suspension, and he fell for LeBron’s bait. LeBron’s not a bitch, a dick, maybe, but not a bitch, and Draymond should have kept his cool. Easier said than done in that situation. Anyway, now Green will be watching tonight’s game outside of The Oracle, in the neighboring coliseum, where the Oakland A’s play. Word on the street is the NBA might let him into The Oracle towards the end of the game, if it’s clear that the Warriors are about to close out the series. Anyway, it’s certainly made for an interesting lead up to Game 5.

Now, onto the game itself. Andre Iguodala will start in place of the suspended Green. The Warriors seem pretty pissed off about this whole situation, which could provide an added spark for them to finish off the Finals with a resounding win. As for the Cavs, their backs are against the wall, and they’ll be facing a hostile Oracle crowd. The pressure’s on LeBron to come up with a big performance tonight, because if he wilts, not only will the Cavaliers suffer a five game gentleman’s sweep, but all people will remember is Draymond Green calling him a bitch, the Warriors calling him a baby, and then him going out there and screwing the pooch in an elimination game. So, yeah, LeBron needs to have a great game tonight.

8:59 pm – Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson welcome us to The Oracle for Game 5. This could very well be the last time we hear from them this season, which isn’t the worst thing, as much as I do miss basketball during the off season.

9:03 – Before the game, we have a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting down in Orlando. Former Magic player, and Orlando resident, Grant Hill says a few solemn words before the moment of silence begins. We here at The Bonus send our good thoughts and well wishes to the friends and families of the victims, and all of the people down in Orlando, including some friends of ours that are living down there. Things like this often bring the best out of the good guys, and the people of Orlando have been no exception as they’ve come together with strength and unity in the wake of this terrible event.

9:11 – Oh my god, the Cavs are wearing horrifc sleeved jerseys tonight. I hope they lose by 100 points. Anyway, the Warriors win the opening tip, and Game 5 is underway! By the way, Kevin Love is back in the starting lineup for Cleveland after coming off the bench in Game 4.

9:12 – LeBron gets his first touch, and is immediately and loudly booed. Much to everyone’s delight, Andre Iguodala steals the ball from him and goes all the way for a layup for the first points of the ball game! That’s followed up by a Kyrie Irving three, and the Cavs begin the game with a 3-2 lead.

9:13 – Oh man, you can feel the hatred coming through the television.

9:16 – We’ve got the first time out of the night after Klay Thompson blows by JR Smith, loses control of the ball, but has it go straight to Andre Iguodala for an easy basket. The score’s Golden State 9, Cleveland 3 with 8:36 left in the first quarter. The Warriors are locked in on defense, forcing four Cleveland turnovers already. The crowd is full of energy and hate, and even though we’ve played about three and a half minutes, this game already kind of feels over.

In other news…

9:20 – Five turnovers for the Cavs now.

9:25 – Another “FREE DRAYMOND” chant as the refs review a foul that Festus Ezeli committed on Tristan Thompson. Best review ever. It ends up just being called a common foul.

9:28 – In case you’re wondering what Draymond Green’s up to…

9:32 – We’ve got a time out as the Cavs have gotten themselves into this one. It’s Golden State 25, Cleveland 22 with 3:12 left in the quarter. Some good news for the Cavs: LeBron’s hit a couple of threes. If he can keep up the good outside shooting, he’ll be able to have the kind of legendary performance the Cavs need out of him tonight.

9:39 – Another time out with the score Golden State 27, Cleveland 26 with 1:44 to go in the first quarter. Obviously, the game no longer feels over, but I stand by the statement I made earlier. I was there, and by there, I mean on my couch, but that’s the way it felt at the time.

9:46 – A long first quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 32, Cleveland 29. Steph Curry’s got 10 points to lead the Warriors, while LeBron James leads the Cavs with 12. JR Smith also has ten for Cleveland. It ended up being a pretty good quarter as the Cavs survived after a quick start from the Warriors. One concern for Cleveland is that their starters did not get much rest in the opening quarter, with LeBron and Tristan Thompson playing all twelve minutes. On the other hand, eleven different Warriors have appeared in the game.

9:49 – Richard Jefferson starts the second quarter off with a dunk, after receiving a nice pass from JR Smith, and the Cavs trail, 32-31. LeBron starts the quarter on the bench for his first rest of the night.

9:51 – Kyrie Irving pulls up and hits a three, and the Cavs have scored the first seven points of the quarter to make the score Cleveland 36, Golden State 32 with 10:45 left in the first half. Looks like this one is going to be more interesting than we thought.

9:54 – I just saw a trailer for Jason Bourne in which Bourne drives by someone on a motorcycle and punches them in the face. If he had done that to LeBron, he’d totally get suspended, am I right?

10:05 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 49, Cleveland 48 with 5:09 left until halftime. Both teams are going at it, and the energy level from all of the players, and the fans, is right where it should be for a game with this much at stake. Klay Thompson is really going bonkers right now. He’s up to 23 points, and the Warriors have needed every last one of them to stay ahead of the Cavs. It’s the sort of performance that could earn him Finals MVP if this keeps up.

10:12 – Kyrie Irving picks off a lazy pass and takes it all the way to the hoop for a layup as turnovers have become an issue for the Warriors, while the Cavs continue to be a worthy opponent. In fact, they even have the lead. It’s Cleveland 54, Golden State 50 with 3:45 to go until halftime.

10:22 – A fantastic first half comes to an end with the score Golden State 61, Cleveland 61. It’s been a back and forth game, with both teams trading punches, unfortunately none of which have come via a speeding motorcycle. Nevertheless, it’s been a killer game. We’ve got a duel brewing between Klay Thompson and LeBron James. Klay’s got 26 points for the Warriors, and LeBron’s poured in 25 points and grabbed 9 rebounds as neither team looks keen on giving an inch. It’s not just those two contributing either. Kyrie Irving’s got 18 points, and JR Smith has contributed 10 for the Cavs. Steph Curry’s scored 13 for the Warriors, and Andre Iguodala has been all over the place and goes into the break with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Now that’s what we all like to see! As I mentioned earlier, it looked like the Warriors were primed to just put this one away early, but LeBron and the Cavs have stepped up, and we’ve got a good one here in Game 5. Also, former NBA player Doug Christie loved our lame testicles joke…

I enjoy that I just had a vague interaction with a player I remember watching when I was a kid. Kevin Garnett was right, anything is possible….ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:32 – All right, it’s time for This Day In NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the good folks down at Basketball-Reference!

Way back on June 13, 1989, the Detroit Pistons won their first NBA title by finishing off a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers with a 105-97 victory in Game 4 of the Finals. Joe Dumars scored 23 points and dished out 6 assists, leading six Pistons players who scored in double figures. James Worthy submitted a valiant effort for the Lakers, scoring 40 points, while AC Green chipped in with 6 points and 12 rebounds. In what turned out to be the final game in his legendary career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar bowed out with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. It should be noted that the Lakers did have to battle the Pistons without stars Magic Johnson and Byron Scott after they were lost to injuries earlier in the series, but that old Pistons team probably would have beaten them anyway.

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10:39 – Meanwhile…

10:40 – Kyrie Irving starts off the second half by getting fouled, getting to the hoop, and laying the ball in. He hits his free throw, and the Cavs go up, 64-61. Irving’s got 21 points.

10:41 – Steph Curry immediately ties the game at 64 with a three, but LeBron answers right back with one of his own, and the Cavs are ahead, 67-64, as James is up to 28 points on the night.

10:42 – Andrew Bogut blocks a layup from JR Smith, but Smith goes flying into Bogut’s knee, sending the Warriors big man to the ground in pain. Play goes on, with each team getting a possession, and Bogut remaining on the ground, before the Warriors take a time out. The score’s still Cleveland 67, Golden State 64 with 10:07 left in the third quarter and a potentially big injury looming over the Warriors.

10:46 – Oh dear, we’re back from time out, and we see footage of Andrew Bogut being carried to the locker room, unable to put any weight on his left leg. Horrible news all around. Now the Warriors will have to carry on without Bogut, and of course Draymond Green, who as you might remember, is suspended for tonight’s basketball game. They’ll have to roll with some pretty small lineups for the rest of the night.

10:47 – Two Klay Thompson free throws makes this a one point game with the Warriors behind, 67-66.

10:48 – Kyrie Irving gets near the hoop and banks in a floater, extending the Cavs lead to 69-66.

10:50 – Kevin Love finds LeBron James for a dunk, and the Cavs have their largest lead at 71-66. James is up to 30 points.

10:53 – After he’s fouled shooting a three, Klay Thompson goes 3-3 from the free throw line, and the Warriors trail, 74-71. Klay’s up to 33 points this evening.

10:54 – Tristan Thompson goes 1-2 from the line for the Cavs, and they lead, 75-71.

11:00 – Klay Thompson misses a short jumper, but Festus Ezeli slams home the offensive rebound, and the Cavs call a time out. The score’s Cleveland 85, Golden State 77 with 3:50 left in the third quarter. Golden State’s fallen out of their groove ever since Bogut left the game. They’ve started trying to do too much on every possession, going for big home run plays instead of playing relaxed and under control. Meanwhile, the Cavs continue to be aggressive as LeBron and Kyrie Irving are putting on a show. Do they have enough to hold on and extend this series, or can the Warriors calm themselves down and regain control?

11:04 – Back from the time out, the Warriors resort to intentionally fouling lousy free throw shooter Tristan Thompson. He goes 1-2 from the line, and the Cavs lead is 86-77.

11:05 – Another intentional foul of Thompson. This time he misses them both, but the Warriors can’t score on the other end and trail, 89-82.

11:06 – After failing to score, the Warriors go right back to fouling Thompson. He hits them both this time, and the Cavs lead is up to 91-82.

11:11 – The third quarter comes to a close with the score Cleveland 93, Golden State 84. The Warriors have looked panicked since halftime, and they’ve made some unfortunate decisions on offense. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are enjoying incredible performances from LeBron James (36 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists) and Kyrie Irving (29 points, 5 assists). This is the sort of game that cements legendary legacies, and I think it’s safe to say that no matter what Draymond Green may or may not have said, LeBron ain’t no bitch.

11:15 – Steph Curry leads off the fourth quarter by nailing a three, and the Warriors have their deficit down to 93-87.

11:16 – Bad news for the Warriors…

11:21 – Another “FREE DRAYMOND” chant rings out as the refs review a JR Smith foul upon Anderson Varejao. Smith hit Varejao across the dome as he went up for a dunk, as Jeff Van Gundy commends Varejao on his acting skills, after the Warriors center spent some extra time lying on the ground, holding his ear. It ends up being a common foul.

11:28 – After Kyrie Irving knocks down a shot, and is fouled, he converts the old fashioned three point play, and the Warriors call a time out. Our score’s Cleveland 102, Golden State 92 with 7:30 remaining in the game. The Warriors continue to make some inexplicable decisions on offense, launching up impossible shots, attempting ridiculous passes and just trying to do too much. There’s still enough time for them to pull off a comeback, but if they don’t settle down, we’re going back to Cleveland for Game 6. It all might be a moot point anyway with the way LeBron and Kyrie are playing.

11:35 – Kyrie Irving ignores a wide open Tristan Thompson under the hoop to launch a heat check three…and he’s still on fire. The three puts Cleveland up 109-96, and gives Kyrie Irving 41 points.

11:36 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Cleveland 109, Golden State 96 with 4:41 to go. LeBron’s missed his last four shots, and could be a little tired, but it doesn’t matter because Kyrie Irving is on the warpath and ensuring the Cavs don’t lose any ground. What an incredible performance tonight.

11:38 – Oh man, Robert Wisdom, the guy who played Bunny Colvin on The Wire, just liked one of our tweets. What an amazing night.

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Shout out to Tiffani Clements as well!

11:41 – LeBron hits a jumper, plus he’s fouled! It gives him 40 points on the night, making this the first time in NBA history that two players on the same team have reached 40 points in a Finals game. He hits his free throw, matching Kyrie’s 41, and the Cavs lead has ballooned up to 112-96.

11:45 – We’re back from a time out, and all of the Warriors starters have been removed from the game as we go under two minutes remaining. The NBA Finals will live to fight another day.

11:50 – Game 5 comes to an end with a final score of Cleveland 112, Golden State 97. Well, all of the drama that led up to this game was overshadowed by legendary performances by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the perfect response to all of the noise coming from the Warriors about James being a crybaby, and a bitch and what have you. LeBron finished the evening with 41 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks while shooting 16-30 from the field. He also hit a great amount of his perimeter shots, something he’s been struggling with throughout the Playoffs, and something that makes him damn near unstoppable when he’s hitting them. Kyrie Irving stepped up as well, and really caught fire down the stretch as LeBron started missing shots. He also sprung for 41 points, and dished out 6 assists, and most impressively, he shot a sizzling 17-24 from the field, and those weren’t all easy shots, I’ll have you know. It was one of the more incredible performances I’ve ever seen in the Finals, and once again, it was the first time two teammates have topped 40 in a Finals game. Oh, and Tristan Thompson chipped in with 6 points and 15 rebounds. We can’t forget about that. Anyway, the Cavs still face a 3-2 deficit. Not ideal, but much more manageable than what they faced coming into the night.

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It was a great win for the Cavs, but, good God, those are horrible jerseys.

As for the Warriors, Klay Thompson led them with 37 points, and Steph Curry finished with 25 points and 7 rebounds, but shot just 8-21, particularly struggling throughout the second half. Andre Iguodala went for 15 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, but the game got away from them after Andrew Bogut was hurt. If they have one weakness, it’s that they can try to do too much and over compensate when their opponent makes life hard for them. That’s what happened here tonight as they went down in a sea of crummy, rushed shots, bad passes and a lack of calm. Now they’re heading back to a frenzied Cleveland for Game 6, although, they will have Draymond Green back, but what about Bogut?

You never know when something utterly insane, ridiculous and legendary will happen, which is suppose why people like me try to watch every goddamn Playoff game. I’m of course talking about Doug Christie and Robert Wisdom interacting with us on Twitter. The game was also pretty good, however, and I’m glad the Finals are continuing on, especially since we predicted the Warriors to win in seven games.

 

2016 NBA Finals – Game 4

The Warriors bounce back.

Well, I just got back from Kimball’s in beautiful Westford, Massachusetts, which means I ate too much ice cream and have a tummy ache, but like Kevin Love, I’ve been cleared and am available for tonight’s game! That’s right, Kevin Love is active after missing Game 3 with a concussion, but he’ll be coming off the bench tonight.

9:00 pm – We’re welcomed to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio by Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Tonight, the Cavs will be looking to tie this series at two after notching their first win with a big Game 3 victory. After Cleveland’s big win, much of the noise around the Finals have been about the struggles of Steph Curry, who has been relatively subdued over the first few games of the series. It’s time for him to break out for a big performance tonight, because the Warriors have gotten away with his substandard output for about as long as they can.

As for the Cavs, they’re electing to stay small, with Richard Jefferson remaining in the starting lineup, and Kevin Love coming off the bench. Will the Warriors recapture their groove, or have the Cavs figured out how to dominate?

9:11 – The Warriors control the opening tip and Game 4 is underway! Harrison Barnes knocks down a three from the corner, and Golden State starts off with a 3-0 lead.

9:12 – Kyrie Irving gets his own corner three, and we’re tied, 3-3. By the way, the Warriors are staying with their regular starting lineup, with Andrew Bogut at center.

9:19 – Irving hits another corner three, and it leads into our first time out of the evening. The score’s Cleveland 13, Golden State 10 with 7:05 left in the opening quarter. We’re off to a much more competitive start than we were in Game 3. In other news, Steph Curry has yet to score in the first quarter during these Finals, which is unusual seeing as he was the league’s leading scorer.

9:25 – Kevin Love comes off the bench for the first time tonight, and gets a huge ovation from the crowd. Meanwhile, Klay Thompson commits his second foul, and he’ll head to the bench as Kyrie Irving puts the Cavs ahead, 18-17, with a free throw.

9:27 – Steph Curry hits a three, and there’s his first points in any of the first quarters during these Finals. It ties the game at 20.

9:30 – We’ve got a time out after LeBron James commits his second foul. We’ll see if he remains in the game, or if he’ll be stashed away on the bench like Klay Thompson. Anyway, the score’s Cleveland 22, Golden State 22 with 2:26 left in the first quarter.

9:34 – Back from the time out, LeBron is on the bench for the Cavs. Meanwhile, Steph Curry hits a pair of free throws to put the Warriors up, 24-22.

9:39 – An excellent first quarter comes to an end with the score Golden State 29, Cleveland 28. This is the best we’ve seen each team play at the same time, and I think we can all agree that we’d like to see this continue. The Warriors are shooting much better from the field, and Tristan Thompson is gobbling up offensive rebounds to give the Cavs extra scoring opportunities. Please keep up the good work, everyone.

9:45 – Iman Shumpert hits a little jumper to score the first points of the second quarter and put the Cavs up, 30-29.

9:49 – We’re going to have a time out with the score Golden State 34, Cleveland 32 with 8:18 remaining in the first half. One thing that’s been different about Kevin Love in this game is that he’s spending a lot more time in the post and around the basket where he made a great living back when he played for Minnesota. Maybe it’ll take him coming off the bench for the Cavs to use him properly.

9:57 – Another time out as this continues to be a close one. I hope I didn’t just jinx it. Anyway, the score’s Golden State 39, Cleveland 36 with 5:58 remaining until halftime. Meanwhile, Jeff Van Gundy just told us all about how OJ Simpson was listening to Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals during his infamous car chase, according to Pat Riley, who was told by the driver of the white Bronco. I only half listened because I’m tired of hearing about both OJ Simpson, and anything Jeff Van Gundy has to say.

10:05 – Steph Curry has Tristan Thompson guarding him, and he easily gets by the Cavs big man. Unfortunately for him, Kyrie Irving heads him off and blocks his layup attempt out of bounds! It’ll get us a time out with the score Cleveland 42, Golden State 41 with 4:16 left in the second quarter.

10:16 – The first half comes to a close with the score Cleveland 55, Golden State 50 after a last second three from Andre Iguodala is no good. Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt Iguodala was fouled, and is so angry at the lack of a call, he earns a technical foul. We’ll deal with that after halftime.

Kyrie Irving leads Cleveland with 16 points, Tristan Thompson has 10 points and 5 rebounds, and JR Smith has also scored ten. Steph Curry leads the Warriors with 14 points, and Klay Thompson isn’t far behind with 11. While the Warriors haven’t been performing at their best, they’ve been doing a great job keeping this one close against an energized Cavs team. I can’t tell if they should be worried they’re down five, despite a quiet first half from LeBron, or if they should be happy to be hanging in there after a less than peak performance. Either way, we’ve got a close game here at halftime, and hopefully it continues on to be one that’s worth staying up for.

10:31 – It’s time for Today in NBA Playoff History, presented by Basketball-Reference!

Back on June 10, 1984, the Los Angeles Lakers forced a Game 7 in the NBA Finals with a much needed 119-108 victory over the Boston Celtics. Trailing 3-2 in the series, the Lakers won Game 6 at home to ensure a seventh game. Larry Bird led the Celtics with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists, and Gerald Henderson came up with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Dennis Johnson chimed in with 20 points and 6 assists, but it was all for naught, as the Lakers had four players score over 20 points, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 30 point, 10 rebound and 5 assist effort. Michael Cooper had 23 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists, Magic Johnson had 21, 6 & 10, while James Worthy had 20 points and 7 boards. Thanks to the big win, the Lakers lived to fight another day, which led to a Game 7 at the old Boston Garden to finish off what is still remembered as a classic Finals. They ended up losing.

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10:33 – Back from halftime, Kyrie Irving shoots the technical free throw from the end of the first half. He hits it for the first point of the second half, which he then follows up with a jumper, and the Cavs have their largest lead of the game at 58-50. Irving’s got 19 points so far.

10:39 – Klay Thompson nails a three, and we not only have a time out, but a one possession game with the score Cleveland 63, Golden State 61 with 8:11 left in the third. Thompson and Steph Curry are having their best games of the Finals, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Warriors are going to need them both if they’re going to pull out a win here in Game 4.

10:44 – Richard Jefferson busts out some vintage moves to get a layup, but Klay Thompson answers with a three, and the Warriors trail, 65-64. On the next possession, LeBron James gets the Cavs lead up to 67-64 with a jumper.

10:45 – Kyrie Irving uses some fancy footwork against Steph Curry to shake free for a jumper, which he knocks down to put the Cavs ahead, 69-64.

10:47 – Klay Thompson pulls up for a jumper, and he’s up to 21 points, as the Warriors trail, 69-66.

10:48 – Andre Iguodala hits a three, and we’re tied at 69.

10:49 – The Warriors finish off a fast break with Klay Thompson sending the ball out to an open Steph Curry in the corner. He knocks down the three, and we’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 72, Cleveland 69 with 4:07 left in the third! The Warriors are on an 8-0 run to take the lead, and Curry’s got 23 points, with Thompson at 21 after the two had been quiet throughout the first three games of the Finals.

10:54 – After drawing a foul against former teammate Anderson Varejao, Kevin Love goes 0-2 from the free throw line.

10:55 – Kyrie Irving gets to the hoop for a reverse layup! He’s got 25 points, and the Cavs trail, 72-71. On the next possession, Draymond Green goes along the baseline for a layup, and Love fouls Varejao. Jeff Van Gundy is convinced Varejao flopped, and now the refs are reviewing the play. They determine the foul came before the layup, so no points for Green, and Varejao will head to the line, where he hits two free throws to put the Warriors up, 74-71. Van Gundy launches into a tirade about flopping. Great.

10:57 – LeBron James corrals an offensive rebound and slams it home, and the Cavs trail, 74-73.

10:58 – The ball is knocked out of bounds, and it’ll lead into a time out with the score still Golden State 74, Cleveland 73 with 2:24 left in the third.

11:01 – Andre Iguodala makes a great pass to Steph Curry who cuts along the baseline for a reverse layup, extending the Warriors lead to 76-73.

11:02 – Draymond Green goes up for a fast break dunk, but he’s fouled. He goes 1-2 from the line, but Anderson Varejao is able to get the rebound off the missed free throw. It leads to a nice bounce pass from Green to Iguodala for a dunk, and the Warriors have their largest lead of the night at 79-73.

11:05 – A pair of Kevin Love free throws makes this a two point game again with the Cavs behind, 79-77. Steph Curry then misses a long three pointer at the buzzer, and a lively third quarter is over with the score still Golden State 79, Cleveland 77.

This is just what the doctor ordered. The Finals suddenly feel alive as these two teams are battling hard. The Warriors looked like themselves during the latter stages of that third quarter, but the Cavs are still right with them as we enter the final twelve minutes of the game. Can the Warriors hang on for a win and put themselves one game away from their second straight championship, or can the Cavs send this series back to Oakland tied at two?

11:09 – Kevin Love gets a turnaround in the paint to bounce through the hoop, and the fourth quarter is underway with the game tied at 79.

11:10 – LeBron James gets himself to the basket for a layup, and the Cavs retake the lead at 81-79. It’s short lived, as Shaun Livingston ties us up at 81 with a hook shot.

11:11 – After Kyrie Irving misses a layup, LeBron James comes flying in for a dunk! Harrison Barnes is unimpressed and knocks down a three, and the Warriors lead, 84-83.

11:12 – Andre Iguodala ventures towards the paint and hits a pull-up from the free throw line. It leads to a time out with the score Golden State 86, Cleveland 83 with 9:03 left in the ball game.

11:16 – Tristan Thompson goes up with the ball, but he’s fouled. He misses both free throws, and the Cavs remain behind, 86-83. Thompson’s an unfortunate 0-5 from the line tonight. Shaun Livingston then hits a pull-up, and the Warriors go up, 88-83.

11:18 – Kyrie Irving goes 1-2 from the free throw line, and Tristan Thompson wrestles for control of an offensive rebound. However, Irving then misses a three, and the Warriors trail, 88-84.

11:19 – Klay Thompson misses a long three, but the rebound gets tipped to Steph Curry who’s all alone under the basket. He easily puts it in, and the Warriors lead is up to 90-84.

11:20 – Andre Iguodala, who’s having a really great game, especially on the defensive end, gets an offensive rebound after Steph Curry misses a close range shot. He passes the ball out to Harrison Barnes who knocks down a three, and the Cavs need a time out as the Warriors have awoken. The score’s Golden State 93, Cleveland 84 with 5:56 remaining.

11:26 – Another time out, and the score’s still Golden State 93, Cleveland 84 with 4:13 remaining. Things are getting a little sloppy out there, but the Warriors are doing a great job making it hard for the Cavs to score down the stretch, led by the defensive efforts of last year’s Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala.

11:31 – FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

LeBron James knocks over Draymond Green, and James then steps over him as Green tries to get up, an ultimate sign of disrespect. Green is displeased and takes a swing at James, and they get into each others faces as play continues, then get tangled up again going for a rebound, and square off again! They’re quickly separated, and nothing too noteworthy happens. Each player is called for a personal foul. By the way, the Warriors lead, 96-86.

11:35 – Another time out with the score Golden State 96, Cleveland 88 with just 1:49 remaining. As you might imagine, LeBron and Draymond (we’re going on a first name basis here) seem pretty fired up as they continue to battle against each other. It’s great to see that sort of heated energy, but time’s running out on the Cavs.

11:38 – A fan has run onto the floor! Just like they do in baseball, the cameras refuse to show it, so I have no idea what the hell happened, so let’s hand it over to our friends on Twitter…

…he’s probably just gearing up for the Republican Convention, also being held at the Quicken Loans Arena. Anyway, security tackled and arrested him real quick. Good work, security!

11:40 – Steph Curry gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Cavs call their last time out. The score’s Golden State 98, Cleveland 89 with 54 seconds to go.

11:42 – LeBron quickly gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Warriors call a time out with the score Golden State 98, Cleveland 91 with 45.7 seconds left, and fans now heading away from the court and towards the exits.

11:44 – With 44.6 seconds left, the Warriors call their final time out after they can’t inbound the ball after the Cavs intentionally fouled them. As both teams go to their benches, LeBron James and Steph Curry share some unfriendly words.

11:46 – After the Warriors inbound the ball, Klay Thompson is intentionally fouled, and he hits both free throws, putting the Warriors ahead, 100-91. Kyrie Irving then gets to the basket for a layup, and Steph Curry is intentionally fouled with Cleveland trailing, 100-93.

11:47 – Steph hits his free throws, and LeBron gets to the hoop for another layup, followed by another intentional foul of Curry. It’s now Golden State 102, Cleveland 95 with 21.1 seconds left.

11:48 – Curry hits two more free throws, LeBron goes in for a half hearted dunk, and Klay Thompson is intentionally fouled with 13.7 seconds left and the Warriors ahead, 104-97.

11:49 – Thompson hits his free throws, and then Steph Curry gets a steal! That should seal this one, but Richard Jefferson fouls him for good measure with 8.2 seconds left on the clock.

11:51 – Curry hits his free throws, and the Cavs dribble out the clock. Our final score from the Quicken Loans Arena: Golden State 108, Cleveland 97. In the win, the Warriors set a Finals record for three pointers made in a game with 17, and also set an NBA record for most wins in the regular season and Playoffs combined in one year, with 88. More importantly, they’re now one win away from winning their second consecutive championship

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson roared to life in the second half and led the Warriors to an important victory. Curry finished with 38 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, and Klay Thompson scored 25. Draymond Green chipped in with nine points and 12 rebounds. As a team, the Warriors actually hit more threes (17) than two-pointers (16). Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 34, and LeBron James nearly had a triple-double with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists, but Cleveland sputtered in the second half and finished the night with an unfortunate loss.

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After it looked like the Cavs had a real chance to tie this series, the Warriors got to work and rediscovered their groove. As that was happening, the Cavaliers ran out of gas and crumbled down the stretch. Any chance they might have had in this series has seemingly gone out the window, as no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. At least the people of Cleveland have the Republican Convention to look forward to. As for the Warriors, they’re heading home with a chance to win the title on their home floor in Game 5, where hopefully nobody runs onto the court.

The Cavs really seemed to give it their best shot during the couple of games in Cleveland, and in the end, they just don’t have what it takes to overthrow the defending champs. That’d be fine if expectations weren’t so high, and they’ll have a lot of pressure on them in Game 5, and beyond, especially if they can’t prolong the series. In the meantime, we have an entire weekend to speculate on it, so feel free to use your imagination and try and predict what the Cavaliers will do this offseason. While you’re at it, try not to eat too much ice cream, and we’ll reconvene on Monday night for Game 5.

2016 NBA Finals – Game 3

The Cavs turn the tables on the Warriors.

Tonight’s a pivotal night in the NBA Finals. The Cavs are looking to get on the board in this series, after two convincing losses to the Warriors out in Oakland. Those losses especially convinced me that it was a bad idea to predict that this series was going to go seven games. Now it looks like we could be in for a sweep, or the five game gentleman’s sweep. On top of that, people are starting to speculate about what a result like that could mean for Cleveland and their future. Could this series be the last we see of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving or Tyronn Lue with the Cavs? Speaking of Kevin Love, he’s out tonight after getting hit in the dome in Game 2. He was not cleared to play tonight, and apparently, he’s pretty irritated about it! Richard Jefferson will replace him in the starting lineup, as the Cavs are going with a smaller lineup tonight. Will they find success and get themselves back into this series, or are they doomed to sink in a flood of drama, brought upon them by their own self-imposed pressure, and the weight of their historically great opponent?

8:59 pm – We’re welcomed to the Quicken Loans Arena in beautiful downtown Cleveland, Ohio by our old pals, Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. It’s time for Game 3 of the Finals! As discussed above, the Cavs desperately need a win here tonight. They’ll have their fans at their back, and they’re undefeated at home in the Playoffs, but do they have enough to overcome the Warriors?

9:03 – Muhammad Ali is honored with a moment of silence here in Cleveland, just as he was before Game 2 out in Oakland.

That’s followed by the fans in Cleveland singing the National Anthem themselves, as per Cleveland tradition. As the camera pans across the stands, several people who have left their hats on are seen, as are people who are messing around on their phones. No word on if that’s also per Cleveland tradition.

9:10 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and Game 3 is underway up in Cleveland!

9:11 – Kyrie Irving hits a jumper to get the Cavs the first points of the ball game and a quick 2-0 lead.

9:13 – Richard Jefferson hits a three, and the Quicken Loans Arena is abuzz with excitement because the score’s Cleveland 9, Golden State 0 with 9:30 left in the first quarter. The Warriors call a time out as the Cavs have gotten off to exactly the sort of start they needed.

9:17 – Draymond Green finds Andrew Bogut for a dunk, and the Warriors are finally on the board and trail, 9-2.

9:24 – After a defensive lapse from the Cavs, Andre Iguodala breaks free for a big dunk, but the Warriors are still in a big hole early with the score Cleveland 21, Golden State 8 with 4:18 left in the opening quarter. The Warriors have been sluggish, shooting 0-6 from three point land, and just 4-13 overall to start the game. That being said, I have no doubt that they’re going to get it together and get back into this game.

9:29 – Timofey Mozgov is making an early appearance in this game. He was a key component to the Cavs Playoff run last year, but he’s been scarcely seen in the postseason this year. Channing Frye joins him off the bench as the Cavs elect to go big.

9:30 – Steph Curry commits his second foul, and he’ll head off to the bench in shame. He’s off to a terrible start, scoring no points on 0-2 shooting in the first ten minutes of action.

9:31 – Wow, Iman Shumpert is sporting a man-bun tonight.

9:32 – You know you’re in for a long night when Mike Breen is already yelling “BANG!” in the first quarter, as he just did after a Kyrie Irving three puts the Cavs up 33-13.

9:34 – After banging knees with Timofey Mozgov and landing hard on the floor, Klay Thompson gets up and goes straight to the Warriors locker room. He leaves with zero points on 0-5 shooting in what’s been a wretched start for the Brothers Splash.

9:36 – Harrison Barnes takes it to the hoop and beats the buzzer against LeBron, but unfortunately for the Warriors, buzzer beaters aren’t worth 20 points. At the end of the first quarter, the score’s Cleveland 33, Golden State 16. Klay & Steph are a combined 0-8 from the field, and the Warriors are 7-20 as a team. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s 15-21, and Kyrie Irving already has 16 points, but why do I still think the Warriors are going to come back in this one?

9:41 – Harrison Barnes leads off the second quarter with a jumper, and the Warriors have their deficit down to 33-18.

9:42 – Shaun Livingston shovels a pass over to Draymond Green, who finishes off a fast break with a dunk. The Cavs call a time out with the score Cleveland 33, Golden State 20 with 10:19 left in the first half and the Warriors starting to show signs of life.

In other news…

9:51 – Klay Thompson returns to the game for the Warriors, who trail 38-27 as they continue to try and chisel away at the Cavs lead.

9:52 – We have a time out in between a couple of Tristan Thompson free throws. He makes the first one, and the score’s Cleveland 39, Golden State 27 with 6:56 left until halftime.

9:55 – Back from the time out, Steph Curry has also returned to the Warriors lineup, after Tristan Thompson’s second free throw gives the Cavs a 40-27 lead.

9:57 – A time out is called during a scrum for a loose ball in which Draymond Green apparently had possession of the ball enough for the Warriors to get away with the time out. This leads Jeff Van Gundy to complain about this, saying there needs to be a rule against these time outs. Personally, I’m against any situation that leads to more talking by Jeff Van Gundy during the game.

10:02 – Klay Thompson knocks down a three, and he’s starting to find his shooting stroke again. The Cavs call a time out with the score Cleveland 48, Golden State 39 with 2:49 left in the first half.

10:09 – Steph Curry picks up his third foul late in the second quarter, and the MVP is heading back to the bench as he continues to struggle with just two points on 1-5 shooting.

10:12 – JR Smith knocks down a half court shot at the buzzer to end the first half! Will it count? The answer is NO! He didn’t quite get it off in time, and as a result, our halftime score is Cleveland 51, Golden State 43.

Kyrie Irving exploded for 19 first half points to lead the Cavs, and LeBron James added 11. Tristan Thompson played a vital role for the Cavs, scoring 8 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Harrison Barnes had 10 points and 6 boards to lead the Warriors, and Klay Thompson shook off a poor start to also score ten. Steph Curry is just 1-5 for two points.

Despite getting off to a great start, the Cavs played a pretty crummy second quarter to let the Warriors back into this game. The scariest part for Cleveland is that Golden State didn’t particularly play that well in the second quarter, and they still battled back into the game. If the Cavs don’t shape up, this one is going to slip away of them, even if the Warriors don’t play as well as they normally do.

10:24 – It’s time for tonight’s episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the fine folks over at Basketball-Reference!

Back on June 8th, 1986, the Boston Celtics won their 16th NBA championship with a 114-97 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 6 at the old Boston Garden. Larry Bird punctuated the series with a triple-double, springing for 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. Kevin McHale also scored 29, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots. Robert Parish chipped in with 11 points and 11 boards. Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets with 19 & 13, but his frontcourt partner Ralph Sampson stumbled to a quiet 8 point, 10 rebound performance as the Rockets got run out of the building. Along with this year’s Warriors, those Celtics are amongst the hallowed teams that are considered the best of all time. Instead of sparking a pointless argument over which of those two teams would win in a hypothetical series, we here at The Bonus are going to just sit back and appreciate them both. (The Celtics would totally win, though).

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10:31 – Two Tristan Thompson free throws score the first points of the second half, putting the Cavs ahead, 53-43.

10:35 – We have a time out as the Cavs have gotten off to a strong start here in the second half. The score’s Cleveland 60, Golden State 46 with 9:12 left in the third quarter. I still think the Warriors are coming back.

10:38 – Steph Curry and Klay Thompson get off on a fast break, but Curry’s pass to Thompson leads him away from the hoop, and out towards the three point line, which allows the pursuing Cavs defense to catch up. Klay shoots a three and misses, instead of getting an easy dunk. Absolutely horrible stuff. I no longer think the Warriors are coming back, and after that horrible display, I wouldn’t even want them to.

10:44 – LeBron James hits a three, and the Warriors are getting buried. The score’s Cleveland 70, Golden State 48 with 5:48 left in the third quarter. The whole team has been horrible, but Steph Curry has been particularly horrendous. He looks like the Monstars stole his powers.

10:48 – Former Cavalier Anderson Varejao is in the game for the Warriors, and the Cleveland fans are booing him for some reason.

Couldn’t have set it better myself, Amin!

10:51 – Time out with the score Cleveland 77, Golden State 59 with 3:14 left in the third quarter. Steph Curry is now resorting to just jacking up shitty three-pointers that have no chance of going in, even for him. He’s playing so badly, I feel personally offended. Meanwhile, with the Cavs rolling, the anti-Kevin Love crowd have got to be feeling pretty good about themselves tonight.

11:00 – After a foul stops play, Steph Curry attempts a meaningless layup, but LeBron comes over and blocks it, just because he can. It’s been that kind of night for the Warriors.

11:01 – The third quarter comes to an end. Our score’s Cleveland 89, Golden State 69. With all of the talk about how lousy the Warriors have been, it’s easy to forget about how well the Cavs are playing. This is exactly the kind of effort they needed tonight, and then some. They’re making this a series again, which makes me happy. It would have been depressing to have the season end on Friday night with a Golden State sweep.

11:06 – Iman Shumpert hits a three from the corner, giving the Cavs not only the first points of the fourth quarter, but their first points off the bench tonight. It extends their lead up to 92-69.

11:11 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 95, Golden State 72 with 8:33 left in the game. At this point, I’m just rooting for this game to by the time The Late Show with Stephen Colbert starts. I wouldn’t want to miss the start of the show.

11:14 – Hey, Channing Frye got called for a technical foul during that time out, as he grazed Klay Thompson’s dome with an errant elbow before the time out was called. I think the refs just kind of feel bad for the Warriors, and called a pity technical in their favor.

11:19 – Steph Curry goes to the hoop for a lefty layup, plus he’s fouled. Unfortunately for him, the score’s Cleveland 103, Golden State 79 with 5:52 remaining as the Cavs call a time out.

11:22 – Curry hits his free throw, and the Warriors have their deficit down to 23!

11:25 – Another time out with the score Cleveland 108, Golden State 83 with 4:37 left. Come on guys, let’s wrap this up!

11:28 – Our pals Mo Williams, Dahntay Jones, James Jones and Timofey Mozgov are into the basketball game for the Cavs. You know what that means! It’s Garbage Time!

11:35 – Oh man, even Jordan McRae has snuck into the game for the Cavs. I shouldn’t be so snarky, these guys are playing in the National Basketball Association, and I’m sitting here typing a blog on my couch.

11:38 – The game finally comes to an end with a final score of Cleveland 120, Golden State 90. Gross.

LeBron James led the way with a great performance, ending the night with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. He had plenty of help, as Kyrie Irving was right behind him with 30 points and 8 assists, and after two horrid games to start the Finals, JR Smith scored 20 points and shot 5-10 from downtown. As for the Warriors, Steph Curry led them with 19 points, but he was downright awful all night, along with the rest of the team.

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That had to be the worst game we’ve seen from the Warriors, and Steph Curry, in a long while, but enough about them. Their awfulness shouldn’t overshadow a great response from the Cavs tonight. A lot of people were happy to consider them dead after the first two games, but Cleveland started tonight’s game with a bang, and never looked back. Now, it’s the Warriors who are searching for answers and looking to rebound after a terrible performance. More importantly, we might actually have a series on our hands, although it’d be nice if these two teams would give us a close game. Even if it’s just one. We’ll take what we can get at this point.