With Game 6 of the NBA Finals approaching Tuesday night, Scott Ferrall can’t help but think this series will go seven games – that despite losing back-to-back games by a combined 34 points, the Cavaliers will find a way to beat the Warriors and give us a Game 7 in Oakland.
Shaun Powell isn’t so sure.
“You know what? I think if there were two days in between games, maybe I would share that (opinion) with you,” the NBA.com writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench, “but LeBron doesn’t have any rest. He spent all day (Monday) flying, and then he’s got to play again (Tuesday) at a high level against a team that’s trying to shut it out? I don’t know, man. It’s very tough in the fourth quarters for him because in the first three quarters he does so much to keep his team in the game, and then in the fourth quarter he’s just wearing down. He’s not Superman. I know he’s LeBron, but he’s not Superman.”
James has scored 40+ points in three of five Finals games. He scored 39 in another. On Sunday, he became the first player to record a 40-point triple double in the Finals since Jerry West.
“LeBron has been great, no doubt,” Powell said. “But everyone is talking about who’s the MVP now because I think people can see the end. I have co-MVPs. One of my MVPs is Kelly Olynyk for injuring Kevin Love. The other co-MVP is whoever hit Kyrie Irving’s knee in Game 1. Let’s be real about this. Cleveland’s up 3-2 if those guys are healthy. Kyrie Irving was very good in Game 1, outplayed Steph Curry, blocked Steph Curry’s shot twice – including the one at the end of regulation – and all of a sudden in overtime, he hurts his knee.”
The Cavs scored just two points in overtime – a meaningless layup by James in the final seconds – and lost, 108-100. Since then, we’ve had back-to-back Cleveland wins, back-to-back Golden State wins and double-digit leads in every game.
Overall, this has been a competitive series in that games were close in the fourth quarter. Competitive, however, does not equal great.
“Everyone’s talking about how great this series is,” Powell said. “No, this series really hasn’t been all that great. First of all, Curry didn’t wake up until Game 4. J.R. Smith, what, where, why? The guy’s been horrible. Klay Thompson’s been up and down. Harrison Barnes had an 0-fer game. Iman Shumpert has just disappeared. Dellavedova, well, the Cinderella slipper is gone. Look, this series has had some moments, but I don’t think it’s been a great series.”
In fact, Powell doesn’t think the Finals have been even the best series of the playoffs. That honor, he said, belongs to Spurs/Clippers, which went seven games and had great play and moments throughout.
“But everybody has short memories today,” Powell said. “You can’t even compare this to Spurs/Heat with LeBron. Maybe not even Heat/Thunder. It’s a decent series. It’s had its moments. But if you take LeBron out of this series, we’re all watching women’s soccer right now.”