The Cleveland Cavaliers are one win away from escaping an incredibly grueling series and moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals. With their 106-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls, the Cavs may not have landed a crushing blow, but they’ve certainly taken hold of the driver’s seat.
Cleveland’s victory seemed to feature all the usual suspects. An incredibly aggressive LeBron James seemed to carry the momentum from his Game 4 buzzer-beater, coming out like a man on fire and putting up 38 points on the night. Tristan Thompson continued displaying his ownership of the glass, once again tallying double-digit rebounds, all of which seemed to come at pivotal moments. Matthew Dellavedova – yes, we’re giving props to Cleveland’s scrappy backup point guard – once again proved crucial thanks to tenacious defense and a +/- of +11.
Of course, you could also note the storyline of the Cavs almost blowing what appeared to be a sure win when they seemingly went on cruise control late in the fourth quarter. At one point up 97-84, Cleveland began slowing down on offense, while also allowing a massive run by the Bulls. Luckily, after watching their lead dwindle down to two points, the Cavs benefited from a game-saving offensive rebound by Iman Shumpert. Cleveland iced the game with some free throws, and now needs just one more win to close out Chicago.
As you can see, there’s a lot to take away from Game 5. That said, if you ask me, the biggest story from the night is a no-brainer.
Kyrie Irving, playing through significant pain, put forth an incredibly stirring performance.