James, Irving save the day with 41 points each
LEBRON James powered the sharpshooting Cleveland Cavaliers to a season-saving 112-97 win over defending champions Golden State Warriors on Monday to climb within 3-2 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
Cleveland, facing elimination at the hands of the top-seeded Warriors, got 41 points each from James and Kyrie Irving and displayed a tenacious defence to set up another do-or-die game for the Cavaliers tomorrow in Cleveland.
"We are just happy we got another day, that's all we can ask for," James said after the game.
With their season on the line, the Cavaliers exploded with their best game yet of the NBA Finals as James and Irving proved too much for a Warriors team playing without suspended defensive stalwart Draymond Green.
The game got off to a wild start and produced the best 24 minutes yet of the Finals as the Warriors and Cavaliers each displayed some incredible shot-making that left the teams tied 61-61 at half-time.
It marked the highest-scoring first half in an NBA Finals game since the 1987 championship between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
But after a tight first half, it was Cleveland who finally pulled ahead by 10 points late in the third quarter as Irving carried over the shooting clinic he put on during the first 24 minutes to keep the home crowd in check.
With a chance to clinch the title on their home court, where they had lost just three times all season including the play-offs, the Warriors were unable to find their way back into the game as the Cavs stymied any bit of momentum Golden State tried to generate.
Green will be in the line-up for tomorrow's pivotal Game 6 after serving a one-game ban after being assessed his fourth flagrant foul from his scuffle with James in the previous contest.
The Cavaliers are trying to become the first team to win a championship after falling behind 3-1 in the NBA Finals.