On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers did what they had to do to keep their season going by notching a big win over the Golden State Warriors.
On Thursday night, the Warriors will have a second chance to clinch their second straight NBA championship.
Who wins Game 6? Here's a prediction for Thursday night's game in Cleveland, which begins at 6 p.m. on ABC15.
1. Will Bogut's absence matter?
Warriors center Andrew Bogut will miss the remainder of the NBA Finals after suffering this knee injury in the second half of Game 5.
Warriors' Andrew Bogut hurts left knee pic.twitter.com/o4bhf1fwSl
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) June 14, 2016
Bogut is not a major offensive threat, but the 2015 All-Defensive Second-Team member will be missed underneath the basket. Will the Cavs take advantage of his absence, or will the Warriors be able to compensate for the loss of the 7-footer?
2. Can LeBron and Kyrie do it again?
The Cavaliers' one-two punch of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both put up 41 points in Game 5 -- the first time in NBA Finals history that two teammates scored at least 40 points in a game.
Will LeBron and Irving be able to replicate that performance on Thursday -- and more importantly, will they both have to be that good once again in order to push the series to a decisive seventh game?
3. What impact will Green make?
The Warriors will get a big boost on both sides of the ball Thursday with the return of All-Star forward Draymond Green, who was suspended for Game 5.
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy asserted Green was suspended in order to prolong the series. Regardless of whether that's true, Green's absence certainly helped Cleveland to do just that. Green has said the Warriors would have won Game 5 if he was able to play; will he vindicate those comments Thursday by helping lead Golden State to another championship?
Don't underestimate the loss of Bogut, who doesn't play a ton but provides valuable minutes on defense. Look for LeBron and the Cavs to try to take advantage of his absence early and often Thursday.
With that said, it's difficult to imagine LeBron and Irving putting up back-to-back other-worldly games, and it's equally as tough to envision Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shooting as poorly from the field in Game 6 as they did in the second half of Game 5.
In short, nearly everything had to go right for Cleveland in Game 5, and it did. The Cavs will have home-court advantage on Thursday -- but the odds of everything falling into place twice in a row against a team as talented as Golden State? Thin, at best.
Look for Curry and Thompson to shoot better and Green to come up with some big plays on offense and defense as the Warriors win their second straight title the same way they did last year: by winning Game 6 in Cleveland.
Warriors 104, Cavaliers 98