The Cleveland Cavaliers have forced the NBA Finals to game seven after evening the series at 3-3 with an impressive 115-101 win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
The Warriors did their best to make it close, despite trailing for the entire game and by 24 at one point in the third quarter.Golden State kept clawing its way back, ending the third quarter on a 25-10 run to cut the lead to nine, and then pulling to within 86-79 when Leandro Barbosa hit a three-pointer with 8:06 remaining.But James hit a jumper, a layup and then hit J.R. Smith for a three-pointer that made it 93-81 with 6:46 to go, and the Warriors never got that close again.
Things got even worse for Golden State with 4:22 remaining, when Stephen Curry fouled out on a very questionable call by referee Jason Phillips.Curry immediately began shouting at Phillips, picking up a technical foul, and then was ejected when he fired his mouthpiece into the first row of seats.
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With Andrew Bogut sidelined for the remainder of the series with a bone bruise in his left knee, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr opted to start Golden State’s “Death Lineup” – Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Green.It was that same quintet which turned around Golden State’s fortunes in the Finals a year ago, starting together for the final three games of the series as the Warriors came back from a two games to one deficit to win in six games.
But in Game 6, it wound up being anything but lethal. Instead, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 13-2 lead, and looked fully energized after Green’s absence let them back into the series in Game 5. Golden State played tentatively at both ends, trying to force extra passes instead of shooting on offense and looking hopelessly lost on defense.
Golden State shot 5-for-22 overall, 1-for-9 from three-point range and committed four turnovers in the first quarter, while the Cavaliers shot 57 percent and got nine fast-break points to jump out to a 31-11 lead after one.That was a deficit Golden State was never able to recover from. While Curry (30 points) and Klay Thompson (25) eventually got it going, and Barbosa added 14 points off the bench, the Warriors had no one else in double figures.
They got a disastrous performance from Barnes, who went 0-for-8 after going 2-for-14 in Game 5, while Iguodala had five points and looked far less than his normal self after his back appeared to seize up early in the second quarter.Green played well in his return, finishing with eight points, 10 rebounds and six assists in over 40 minutes, but James was far too much for Green – or anyone else on Golden State’s roster – to slow down.
Now the Cavaliers find themselves one win away from history, and the first team to come back from a three games to one deficit in the NBA Finals.”Records are meant to be broken,” James said with a smile. “We’re a team that’s persevered all year.Hey, at the end of the day, let’s go out and play and see what happens.”