Jerry West and LeBron James are now the only two players in NBA history to register a 40-point triple-double in the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for both all-time greats, they are both likely to also be the only Finals MVPs to go home without a trophy.
James filled up the box score Sunday night with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but it was not enough to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory.
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors took a 3-2 series lead with a 101-94 win in Game 5, and pushed the Cavs to the brink of elimination.
For what it’s worth, LeBron remains extremely confident in his team’s chances going forward.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) June 15, 2015
Per the Akron Beacon Journal:
(David) Blatt did his best to counter given the obvious roster limitations. He played two different lineups (LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, James Jones and Mike Miller followed by James, Smith, Jones, Miller and Tristan Thompson) that didn’t play together for even one minute during the regular season or postseason. It was a risk. […] That’s not where the Cavs lost the game – they built their biggest lead of the game (37-30 in the second quarter) with that patchwork group. But it still exposed Blatt to criticism for ignoring (Timofey) Mozgov most of the night. He went scoreless, took only one shot, committed two fouls and failed to grab a rebound in nine non-productive minutes.
Blatt never discusses strategy and always answers personnel questions with a standard, “I thought that was our best chance to win the game.” He tried that two or three times following Game 5, but it wasn’t good enough. The international press kept coming. After six consecutive Mozgov related questions and follow-ups, Blatt hinted at the possibility it may have been the wrong decision. […] “Did I make a mistake?” Blatt asked unprompted. “Listen, when you’re coaching a game, you’ve got to make decisions. I felt that the best chance for us to stay in the game and to have a chance to win was to play it the way we played it.”
There is a groundswell of support for LeBron to win the MVP of the series regardless if the Cavs win or lose. That hasn’t happened in 46 years, since Jerry West won it despite the Lakers losing to the Celtics in seven games. That’s likely the case again. I’d imagine James will have to get the Cavs to a Game 7 to strengthen his chances, and if Curry finishes the last two games the way he has played the last two he’ll probably win it anyway. But James’ effort in these games has been superhuman. […] James said a few days ago he can’t play all 48 minutes in a Finals game, but he’s coming awfully close. He rested for just 26 seconds in the first quarter and then the final 1:45 of the third. He would’ve played the rest of the way, but Blatt conceded defeat and pulled him for the last minute when the lead was double figures.