NBA Finals Game 5 Preview: Warriors Looking To Close Out NBA Finals Against Cavaliers On Home Court

Golden State v Cleveland | Tuesday, June 13, 11am (AEDT), ORACLE Arena, Oakland

(Golden State leads series 3-1)

Golden State forward Draymond Green may have inadvertently awoken the beast from its slumber as a rejuventated Cleveland Cavaliers staved off elimination to send the series into today's game 5 in Oakland.

The hot-headed Warriors All-Star inflamed tensions between the teams before the Cavaliers’ record-breaking 137-116 game 4 victory with reported jibes about popping champagne corks in the Cavaliers’ locker rooms.

If being in an elimination game wasn’t enough motivation for the Cavs, Green’s (pictured below) comments ignited a fire amongst Cavs players which saw them explode for an NBA Finals record of 24 made three-pointers and 86 points in the first half.

Even if the former Michigan State Spartans star dared to open his mouth again, the odds are heavily stacked against LeBron James the Cavaliers going back-to-back from their current predicament.

No team in NBA history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Finals but James and the Cavs have not only broken the Warriors’ 15-game playoff winning streak, they proved last year they’re never down and out when trailing 3-1.

In a losing effort in game 4, Kevin Durant again showed his class with a team-high 35 points on 9 of 22 shooting and a near-perfect 15 of 16 from the free throw line.

The normally sharpshooting Warriors were off kilter from downtown in game 4 shooting just 11 of 39 at 28.2 percent with Green (1 of 6), Durant (2 of 9) and Steph Curry (2 of 9) going a combined 5 of 24 at 20.8 percent.

But back on their home court where the Dubs went 36-5 during the regular season and a perfect 8 of 8 during the NBA Playoffs, the Warriors’ perimeter shooters will look to regain their range back in their familiar surrounds in Oakland.

It remains to be seen if the Cavs can repeat their game 4 heroics where they shot an exceptional 46 of 87 at 52.5 percent. 

After going cold from downtown (0 of 7) in game 3, Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving (pictured above) found his rhythm, sinking 7 of 12 from the land of plenty to finish with a game-high 40 points.

There was also a lot to love about Kevin Love’s best game of the NBA Finals after the Cavs’ power forward logged 23 points on 7 of 14 shooting including 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.

If there was one area the Cavs let themselves down in, it was their lapse shooting from the stripe.

While some of the calls, which sent them to the line might have been dubious, call or no call, they couldn’t convert and subsequently finished the game with 21 of 31 at just 67.7 percent and were lucky their errant free-throw shooting didn’t prove costly.

The Verdict

With defence playing a miniscule part in these finals, expect another a high-scoring shootout with plenty of swings both ways.

The team, which can nail their free-throws and hold their nerve down the stretch, will ultimately emerge victorious.

Cavs’ talisman LeBron James (pictured below) will again need a triple double if the defending champs are to extend the finals into a game 6 in Cleveland.

The Warriors, on the other hand, are desperate to atone for last year’s capitulation where they surrendered a 3-1 lead and failed on two occasions to wrap-up the finals on their home court.

A win for Steve Kerr’s men would secure their second championship in three years and see the Warriors equal the 2001 LA Lakers (15-1) and 1983 Philadelphia 76ers (12-1) as a one-loss champion.

Unibet Odds: Golden State 1.28 Cleveland 3.90

Tip: Golden State 

Line tip: Cleveland +9.5 (1.79)

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