Can the Warriors close out the Cavs? 3 questions and a prediction for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals

Posted at 3:20 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 18:49:17-04

The Golden State Warriors are one win away from their second straight NBA championship -- but if they're going to end the series, they'll have to do so without the services of one of their top players.

Will the Warriors do enough Monday to close out the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers? Here are three questions and a prediction for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. on ABC15.

1. Can the Warriors do it without Draymond?

Through the first three games of this series, Warriors forward Draymond Green was a candidate to win finals MVP honors. That all changed with this play in Game 4, which led to a suspension for Game 5.

Green, a 2016 All-Star and two-time NBA All-First Team selection, averaged 14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists through the first four games of this series. The Warriors will miss Green's presence on both sides of the ball; will his teammates do enough to compensate? That brings us to...

2. Can Curry and Klay have repeat performances?

The Warriors took two of the series' first three games in spite of the lackluster play of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In Game 4, the real Splash Brothers returned, combining for 63 of Golden State's 108 points and 11 of their NBA Finals-record 17 3-pointers.

Golden State has proved it can win without Curry and/or Thompson having huge games on a nightly basis, but without Green, performances similar to those of Game 4 could be required if the Warriors don't want to return to Cleveland for a Game 6. Can the sharpshooting duo put on a show one more time?

3. Can LeBron have his best game of the series?

Let's be clear: LeBron James has been pretty good throughout this series -- he's averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field. It sounds absurd, but the Cavs will probably need more from LeBron in Game 5.

They'll need the LeBron who could've easily won MVP honors in last year's finals (even in a losing effort). That included a 40-point, 12-rebound, 8-assist performance in a Game 2 victory in Oakland last year. He'll need help from fellow All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but if LeBron can put up similar numbers Monday night, Cleveland will likely still be alive.


Here in a nutshell is why the Warriors will miss Draymond Green in Game 5: 

So, yes, it will be impossible for the Warriors to replace Green's presence -- but look for Golden State to do enough to close out the Cavs anyway.

The Warriors are at home, where they've lost three games all season (including the playoffs). Curry and Thompson are playing their best basketball of the series. Andre Iguodala is still available to limit LeBron's production. And Golden State's bench, which outscored Cleveland's by 35 points in Game 1, is more than capable of providing instant offense.

There's also this stat:

LeBron, Irving and the Cavs are capable of prolonging this series, but they won't. Look for Curry to help the Warriors wrap up their second straight championship and earn Finals MVP honors in the process.

Warriors 98, Cavaliers 93