All comments in real time (EST)
9:06 PM: I don’t dislike Andy Grammer… but yeah… wasn’t a big fan of his national anthem. Didn’t feel the energy, plus he came off a smidge flat on some notes. That said, keep your head up, Andy. I’m a hard dude to impress.
9:12: So obviously the Dubs were going to have a different starting line-up due to “BitchCrotchGate”, but weird for the Cavs to bring Kevin Love back as a starter, especially when Cleveland played well when Richard Jefferson started. We’ll see how this plays out.
9:18: Good start for the Warriors. Outside of one miscommunication where they let Kyrie Irving get a wide-open trey, they haven’t seemed to miss a beat without their top crotch-hitter. 9–3 Dubs early.
9:21: Of all the commentary on LeBron, I thought Ayesha Curry had the best response in reference to him taking the “high road”:
9:26: Andre Iguodala’s energy in the starting line-up is everything so far for the Warriors.
9:28: Glad they called that a common foul on Festus Ezeli. Non-malicious intent, play on, bruh.
9:31: Uh-oh… if LeBron is knocking down threes…
9:33: Love turnover, and it’s official: Love’s ceiling was back in Minnesota as a “good stats/bad team” player. His second season with the Cavs is winding down, and he’s still struggling with being jettisoned to third banana. In his defense, it’s a tough role to accept, and not everyone can do it.
9:38: Look at J.R. Smith showing up for Game 5! Nine early points as the Warriors lead 27–26.
9:44: Steph Curry missed a wide-open three. I know it’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last… but it’s utterly shocking.
9:45: James ties it with a freebie, and they bring up an interesting stat: he’s gone from averaging just over eight free throw attempts per game in the Finals in 2015 to just under six in 2016.
32–29 Warriors after uno. James leads all scorers with 12. Curry+Thompson+Iggy=26.
9:53: A little 7–0 run to start the second for the Cavs… including back-to-back buckets by the immortal Richard Jefferson. What an invaluable pick-up for them this season. He’s been great for the locker room, and in small stretches he’s been a leader on the court as well. Plus, I like his Snaps.
9:56: I’ve run out of Sour Patch Kids. I may have to revert to Nerds.
9:59: So Shaun Livingston just put Jefferson on a poster…
10:06: Klay Thompson (23) and Kyrie (16) Irving are locked in an epic duel. Neither one can stop the other. 49–46 Warriors.
10:08: Coming back from commercial, they’re showing Thompson’s barrage of triples. I know it’s early in his career, but I’m just about ready to call him the best catch-and-shoot player of all-time. As for the best shooter of all-time? Shit, he’s not even the best shooter on his team.
10:13: Irving gets a steal and goes in for the uncontested lay-up. Low-key, the Warriors have 10 turnovers. Lucky to be down 54–50.
10:16: As a basketball fan, I’m happy to see James playing with urgency offensively.
10:17: Thompson with six first half threes. #jordanshrug
10:19: This is an amazing offensive display by both teams. Great individual performances by Thompson (26), James (25–9), and Irving (18).
61–61 at the half.
10:34: I hate being sick, but at the very least I still have my appetite. I’ve eaten like a champ today. And now I’m out of Nerds.
10:39: I don’t know if it’s the best stat in the world for LeBron to have zero assists at halftime, but I do like the fact that he’s going down swinging.
10:42: Andrew Bogut hurt his knee, and the replay isn’t super encouraging. Meanwhile, how Cleveland didn’t score in an extended four-on-five situation is befuddling.
10:47: Can the Warriors get away with a line-up that features Harrison Barnes at center???
10:51: Thanks to a mini Irving/James run after Bogut’s injury, the Cavs extend to an eight-point lead, 74–66.
10:53: If it were any team other than the Warriors, I would say that they’re settling for too many threes. But it’s not.
10:56: Irving is putting on a shooting clinic… so much so that Mike Breen just said the exact same thing as I was typing it. Word for word. Anyway, dude has 29 points on 12–15 from the field. Offensively, doesn’t get much better than that.
11:01: So if Cleveland steals Game 5… do I get another taco?
11:05: Hack-a-Thompson has begun.
11:06: LeBron James is now 4–7 from three after draining one with Livingston right in his airspace. Weird.
11:10: I know it’s been a minute, but remember how flat Andy Grammer’s anthem was? That’s how flat the Warriors look right now.
93–84 Cleveland headed to the fourth. James with a massive 36–12–6 performance so far.
11:17: Irving answers a Curry three with a tough fadeaway near the lane. I love how Uncle Drew is up to the challenge tonight. He’s been much-maligned throughout this season and his career, but I respect the fact that he’s a gamer. He’d rather go out guns blazing and go 0–25 than go out meekly.
11:26: Harrison Barnes has missed a lot of wide-open shots tonight.
11:30: Ky. Rie. Irv. Ing. And one over Thompson to make it a 10-point game, 102–92.
As well as Curry and Thompson played in the first half, they’ve been noticeably absent since halftime. Can they get it in gear during crunchtime?
11:34: On cue, back-to-back buckets by the Splash Brothers… only to be answered by a tough Irving shot.
11:36: Irving has gone completely bonkers. It’s getting to the point where I think there’s going to be a Game 6. 109–96 with 4:41 left.
11:41: Here’s the thing: if you’re going to kill James for not being assertive enough in Game 4, you have to praise him for bringing it in Game 5. If you’re going to kill Irving for over-dribbling and taking bad shots in Game 4, you have to praise him for going to work tonight. They each have 41, first time that teammates have gone for 40+ in NBA Finals history.
11:45: Draymond Green or no Draymond Green, the Warriors couldn’t get it done on either end in the second half. For all the talk leading up to the game from the Warriors, I felt like it was the Cavaliers who came out hungry. James came out with a sense of urgency. Irving has now balled out in two straight games. Meanwhile, the back-to-back MVP has looked incredibly human for four out of five games. Can Golden State finish the Cavaliers off with a subpar game from their leader? Maybe… but they probably don’t want to find out.
Anyway, 112–97 Cavs. Game 6 Thursday. And yep… one more taco.