Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James posted his second triple-double of the 2015 NBA Finals in Sunday's Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors. Even that wasn't enough to keep the Cavs from losing 104-91 to fall into a 3-2 series deficit, however.
Bleacher Report highlighted how much time remained on the clock when James had completed a triple-double:
James wound up with 40 points on 15-of-34 shooting, 14 rebounds, 11 assists and only two turnovers. "The King" is doing all he can to will a championship to the city of Cleveland, but the Warriors did him no favors in the hostile environment of Oakland's Oracle Arena.
ESPN.com's Jason Reid had a fitting reaction to LeBron's ongoing dominance:
The NBA on ESPN referenced the elite company James joined, as he becomes the only player other than Magic Johnson to register multiple triple-doubles in more than one NBA Finals series:
Beautiful ball movement led to James snapping a pass to Iman Shumpert for a corner three-pointer in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 75. That marked his 10th assist of the night and gave him the prestigious statistical achievement.
ESPN Stats & Info noted how much of the burden James carried from the beginning and further emphasized his unique performance:
Hoops Critic's Josh Eberley hints that even if the Cavs lose, James should garner Finals MVP consideration:
NFL quarterback Teddy Bridgewater provided some balanced analysis of James' prowess:
Cavaliers coach David Blatt adjusted to the move his counterpart Steve Kerr made by going with a smaller lineup. Blatt shook up the rotation slightly by giving Mike Miller a bit more playing time while playing center Timofey Mozgov for just nine minutes despite his team-high 28 points and 10 rebounds in Game 4.
No matter what tactics the Cavs threw at the Warriors, Golden State proved to be the superior squad despite James' extraordinary all-around effort. Curry poured in 37 points and was too hot to be denied down the stretch.
Both Blatt and Kerr heaped praise upon LeBron after the game, via Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk and CBS Sports:
LeBron didn't sell himself short either, per Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix alluded to a silver lining Cleveland fans may be able to take solace in:
James put forth so much energy to try to steal Game 5 on the road and has just one full day of rest between now and Tuesday's contest. Even though Game 6 is back in Cleveland, the Cavs are now facing the prospect of elimination, with James likely having little in the tank to help keep their postseason alive.
J.R. Smith hit some huge shots early in Sunday's contest, only to fade late and misfire when it mattered most. Cleveland needs Smith, Shumpert, James Jones and Matthew Dellavedova to knock down perimeter shots to have any hope of keeping the Warriors from clinching the Larry O'Brien Trophy on their home floor.
No matter how well James plays, it seems like a long shot that this series will go the distance. The best-case scenario is taking care of business at home, going back to Oakland and relying on perhaps James' most epic performance in his already storied career to clinch the first championship in franchise history.