What Kyrie Irving did in Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals was nothing short of remarkable — no amount of rigging or conspiring off the court could aid someone in making shots quite like the ones he did.
Yet without taking anything away from Irving, it's still difficult for me to imagine the Cleveland Cavaliers coming up with a new adjustment to beat the Golden State Warriors when they have Draymond Green, who will be returning from his one-game suspension in Game 6.
Nevertheless, Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN was one of the few people who seemed to have a non-apocalyptic take on what Irving's 41-point explosion would mean for the rest of the series.
That net result of giving up 41 points on 17-of-24 shooting should indeed sting, but I’m not certain Thompson should beat himself up over it. Though he fell asleep on Irving’s first 3-pointer of the game, many of Irving’s following attempts were very well contested. It just happened to be a night where Irving’s brilliant shot-making triumphed. As Thompson said, "It happens."The fact is that Irving is probably not going to continue to make those shots for all the reasons show in the BBallBreakdown's analysis by Coach Nick (video above). As Ryan Mourton of Fear the Sword said in our latest Golden State of Mindcast published this morning, "It's probably impossible to repeat the night they had...it's never been done."
They're all right about that: there's almost no way to count on Irving hitting shots like that again. If he (or anyone else) can make shots like that every game to help LeBron, then the Cavs deserve to win the title and it'll be amazing to see.
And if you're one of the people panicking because Andrew Bogut is out, his lack of mobility really didn't help the Warriors stop Irving all that much. Having Green back on the court to switch and fill in the holes in the defense probably means far more than Bogut's absence.
Kyrie's numbers with Bogut on the court. He's killed him all series. pic.twitter.com/w4UbSgFGJ0— Bryan Gibberman (@Gibberman10) June 14, 2016
The fact of the matter is that both Irving and LeBron James are good enough to single-handedly win a game. In Game 5, the Cavs' stars turned in a historic performance while the Green-less Warriors played poorly. Unfortunately, hoping to repeat historic performances while the other team plays poorly is not a sustainable plan.
The Warriors will be just fine in this series.