Two things seemed very obvious during the run-up to the NBA Finals: All eyes would be on LeBron James and Stephen Curry, and the Cavs were seriously outmanned against a Warriors team that won 67 games during the regular season.
And yet somehow, the Cavs managed both to lose another star to injury and take two of the first three games from the Warriors. The series, though, has reverted to expectations in the last two games. In Game 5, James had his second triple double of the series (40 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists) and Curry dazzled with 37 points.
The difference, then, was everyone else. And in this case, Curry’s supporting cast was better than James’. J.R. Smith showed he could be brilliant, but only for a half, Iman Shumpert hit some key shots, and Tristan Thompson managed a double-double playing mostly for center Timofey Mozgov as Cleveland attempted to match the Warriors smaller, faster lineup. But in the end, it was pretty much LeBron vs. the Warriors, and the Warriors were too much.
Andre Iguodala started for the second game and continued the consistent play that kept the Warriors in the hunt while Curry was finding his shot. Klay Thompson scored a mostly quiet 12 points, except for the fourth-quarter three pointer that quelled a Cleveland rally, and Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes were both reliable.
Does the series go to the best player or the best team? The narrative in this series has already flipped several times, but for the moment, at least, it’s advantage Warriors.