The Golden State Warriors, even with their sub-par showing in Game 5, still have a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals. But after watching LeBron James and Kyrie Irving go off for 41 points apiece – and with Andrew Bogut ruled out for the rest of the series – the Warriors have to be at least a little concerned heading into Game 6 on Thursday.
“Right now, momentum is on Cleveland’s side,” Mychal Thompson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “They’re going home after that performance in Game 5. You bet they’re very confident with the way LeBron and Kyrie shot the ball. Tristan Thompson is rebounding like a demon. So they should be very confident going home. Despite losing Game 4 there, they feel like they’ve discovered something. I’ll be anxious to see if they can keep it going, if Kyrie and LeBron will come out and continue to knock down jump shot after jump shot (despite) being hotly contested. That remains to be seen. I don’t think that they will. They’ll be tough to deal with, but I just don’t see those two shooting a combined 61 percent again from the field.”
If the Warriors lose, it won’t be because of Thompson’s son, Klay. The 26-year-old sharpshooter has erupted for 62 points over the last two games, going 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) from the field, 10-of-20 from three and a perfect 16-of-16 from the foul line.
“I think the Warriors are still in a favorable position to win it,” Thompson said. “They’ve got to win one game. They’re still ahead in this series. Of course one of those games will be in Oakland if it comes down to that. They failed the last time, but I think they’ll bounce back. And with Draymond Green back, you bet they have a very good chance to win in Cleveland – but they’re going to have to play their best to get it done.”
Especially since King James has awoken. The four-time MVP went off for 41 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and three steals in Cleveland’s 112-97 win in Game 5.
Which is why Brandon Tierney had to take Thompson to task for a comment he made about James earlier this week. Specifically, Thompson said that James wouldn’t have survived in the 1980s given the physicality and trash-talking that defined the game.
Tierney grew up on the ’80s NBA basketball. Big Patrick Ewing fan. Loved the game and the way it used to be. But come on: That’s a pretty unfair assessment of LeBron, no?
“Well, I was being unfair, there’s no question about it,” Thompson said. “But in the ’80s, there was so much trash-talking. Stuff would go on on the floor and the refs would just tell you to shut up or else they’ll T you up. Guys would talk so much stuff to you and the superstars talking to the scrubs about how they couldn’t be guarded and calling each other names – I guess that’s just part of basketball, whether you’re on the playground or in the NBA. You don’t hear as much now because the league has become more PC and guys are more friendly toward each other. But back then in the ’70s and ’80s, bad language on the court was commonplace and you had to have a thick skin to play with it back then, to just deal with it and not take it personally.”