The Emergence of Kyrie Irving
A historic performance from New Jersey's Kyrie Irving was the headline as Cleveland ousted Golden State in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The former Duke University star helped the Cavaliers survive elimination.
As Irving poured in 41 points in an incredible effort, teammate LeBron James added the same amount in the double-digit win. As a result, the duo entered the record books as the first-ever teammates to score 40 points in the NBA Finals.
Irving, a former McDonald's All-American via St. Patrick's (N.J.), was spectacular for four quarters Monday night. He was ultra-aggressive with the ball and was a consistent shot-maker. Irving was the spark that lifted Cleveland which allowed them to see another day. And in the Finals, that's all you can ask for.
For the Warriors, they got all they could from shooting guard Klay Thompson. On only 20 shot attempts, the former Washington State sniper scored a team-high 37 points. With All-Star forward Draymond Green out of the lineup (and arena) due to a league suspension, the Dubs also lost center Andrew Bogut with a knee injury. The Australian's status for the remainder of the series is unknown.
What can be assured is the one-two punch of Irving and James will be alive once again come Game 6. Aggressors early in the contest tonight, the pair made shots and put Golden States on their heels. Despite brilliance from Thompson and strong efforts from Stephen Curry (25 points) and Andre Igoudala (15 points; 11 rebounds), the Cavaliers were the team on a mission.
On the brink of elimination, it was a 24-year old superstar who rose to the occasion and stole the show.