The 2016 NBA Finals will last at least one more game after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors Monday night in Game 5.
The Cavaliers went on the road and lit up the Warriors in Oracle Arena to the tune of a 112-97 victory. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took turns controlling the game, and each dropped 41 points. Irving was particularly dominant, as he made 17 of his 24 shot attempts, including 5-of-7 from downtown.
Warriors forward Draymond Green sat out because of a suspension resulting from an altercation with James in Game 4, and the defending champs sorely missed him. As ESPN Stats & Info points out, the Warriors were significantly better when they had Green on the floor.
It's never as simple as one player's absence costing a team a game, but the Warriors defense definitely took a step back without one of its anchors on the floor. Head coach Steve Kerr echoed as much to ESPN.com after the game.
"We weren't very good defensively," Kerr said. "We obviously knew we were without Draymond, so there's no point in harping on that. We had to play better, and we didn't."
The Dubs will get Green's services back for Game 6, which will be in Cleveland on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. ABC has you covered on the television side, but if you're looking to stream the game, then you can catch it on WatchESPN.
Even though Golden State will have Green back, Odds Shark still has the Cavaliers as two-point favorites at home. However, the public believes in the Warriors, as 59 percent of the current line bets are on Golden State. (Odds updated as of Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET.)
The Warriors, however, could be without another starter come Game 6. Andrew Bogut left Game 5 after injuring his knee, and ESPN's Marc Stein provided the latest on his status.
Losing Bogut would mean that the Warriors would be down another key defensive piece. He's not the versatile defensive force that Green is, but Bogut is still an above-average rim protector. If he's out, then the Cavs could have an easier time operating in the paint.
However, having Green back should give the Warriors just the boost they need. The Cavaliers essentially won with two players shouldering the entire scoring load, and it's hard to expect them to sustain that despite the home-court advantage.
Unless some other Cavs players step up (looking at you, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith), then the Warriors have a good shot to bounce back and close out their second straight title.
Prediction: Warriors win 107-95