STEPHEN CURRY GETS EJECTED LATE AS LEBRON JAMES AND THE CAVALIERS DESTROY THE WARRIORS TO FORCE A GAME 7
Last night was an even tougher night for the Golden State Warriors than that of Game 5, as the pressure increases with every game played. Now it's come down to one final winner-take-all game 7 in Oakland.
Barely a few days ago these NBA finals were an indictment of LeBron James’s failings as a superstar. His Cleveland Cavaliers were on the verge of losing the championship a second straight year to a Golden State Warriors unit built on team play inspired by their best player, Steph Curry, but by late Thursday night, James had perhaps made a solid case for himself as the league’s best player still, scoring 41 points, accompanied by 8 rebounds and 11 assists as he carried Cleveland to a 115-101 Game 6 victory. The finals have now been pushed to a Game 7 that few (including myself) never saw coming. The Warriors are now on the verge of going from an almost certain second straight title to an epic collapse.
Stephen Curry, the league's two-time reigning MVP, was in foul trouble most of the way and thought most of the calls were in error, especially the one when he fouled out and got ejected for a combination of throwing his mouthpiece and harassing referee Jason Phillips. It was a tough end to a troubling Thursday night, one where the Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 to tie the title series at 3-3.
After the game, Steph Curry had a few words to say, including that he's never been ejected before and how weird it felt, but then proceeded to tease himself about how frustration must have set in, and to be fair, can't blame him. It's the NBA finals !
He was laughing a bit then, but this is no joke: The legacy of this season for the Warriors hinges entirely on the Game 7 that awaits on Sunday night.
The Warriors haven't lost three straight all season. No team in NBA Finals history has ever blown a 3-1 lead . And Golden State better hope both of those things still remain true after the 1,316th and final game of the season, or else their record-setting 73-win regular season will be overshadowed by the memory of not being able to take home the biggest prize.
Coach Kerr really said it all..."Let me be clear: We did not lose because of the officiating, they totally outplayed us and Cleveland deserved to win. But three of the six fouls (called on Curry) were incredibly inappropriate calls for anybody, much less the MVP of the league."
Draymond Green was a nonfactor, Harrison Barnes couldn't hit any shot and Andre Iguodala's back troubles didn't help either, he needed treatment multiple times during the game.
They were battered, they were beaten, and they were furious afterward, as they should be.
Kerr (Just like Tyronn Lue recently) will surely get fined for criticizing officials, his comments on Curry and how Phillips fell for what the Warriors thought was a LeBron James flop will cost the coach of the year $25,000. Money well spent if the Warriors win Game 7.
Curry will also likely face a fine for throwing the mouthpiece that struck a fan sitting courtside if league precedent in such matters holds. Curry immediately apologized to the fan and it appeared that he and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue were sharing a laugh about the incident in the immediate moments that followed.
"I've thrown my mouthpiece before," Curry said. "I usually aim at the scorer's table. I was off-aim...But the last two fouls I had, I didn't think I fouled either Kyrie or LeBron. That's my perception of the plays and I had a reaction to it."
Throughout the game, Golden State never led, faced their largest end-of-first-quarter deficit of the entire season and now will have an unimaginable amount of pressure when Sunday night's winner-take-all game rolls gets played at Oracle Arena.
Curry led the Warriors with 30 points, and Klay Thompson finished with 25 yet neither ever seemed to get totally on track. The other three Golden State starters, Green (8), Iguodala (5) and Barnes (0 for 8 from the field, 0 points) combined for 13 points.
Golden State trailed by 22 points late in the first quarter before getting within 8 points later in the half, then trailed by 24 in the third quarter and eventually cut that deficit down to 7 early in the fourth, albeit in vain.
"Just didn't go our way," Curry said.
James was possessed, dominating play at both ends and finishing with 41 points for the second consecutive game. Tristan Thompson made all six of his shots and finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds for Cleveland which outrebounded the Warriors 45-35.
Instead of dying quietly, with the odds previously stacked against them, James and the Cavs can now create history by becoming the first team to come back from down 3-1 in the finals to win a title, the first Cavaliers team to get a championship and the first Cleveland sports team to win a title in 52 years. A Cavs Game 7 win would be a severe blow to the Warriors, who set a NBA record with 73 regular-season wins in 2015-16.
Both teams have won 2 home games & 1 away game thus far, if home court advantage means anything, it's all going to be clear on Sunday, where James would have a chance to either reclaim the throne, or officially surrender to Golden State.