OAKLAND, Calif. - As great as these NBA Finals have been, it was missing a game when league MVP Stephen Curry and best player on the planet LeBron James raised the levels of their play and everyone around them.
It happened Sunday night in Game 5 as Curry and James played brilliantly, and tried to will their teams to the victory. Curry was successful, and has the Warriors one win from their first championship in 40 years.
The Warriors overcame James' triple-double and handed the Cavaliers a 104-91 loss at Oracle Arena that gave Golden State a 3-2 series lead. They can close it out in Game 6 Tuesday in Cleveland.
Curry scored 17 of his 37 points in the fourth. He was 13-for-23 overall, including 7-for-13 from three. Andre Iguodala added 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
James couldn't do much more than he did. He played 45 minutes, and finished with his second triple-double of the series: 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. James shot 15-for-34 from the field.
In the fourth, James hit a long three with 7:47 left to put the Cavaliers up 80-79. On the Warriors' next possession, Curry drilled a step-back three. Then after James missed, Klay Thompson nailed a long three to give Golden State an 85-80 lead.
The Cavaliers scored on their next two trips, and had the chance to tie it, but James missed inside. That led to an Iguodala three-pointer. After another Cavaliers' miss, Iguodala got an offensive rebound on the other end, and scored on a tough double-clutch to make it 91-84 with 3:45 left.
Then Curry took over. He scored on a drive to the basket, and gave the Warriors a 96-86 lead with a three with 2:44 left. Curry crossed over Matthew Dellavedova twice, dribbling once behind his back and then in front before stepping back and hitting the three.
After that, the Cavaliers resorted to intentionally fouling Iguodala. It was effective. He shot 1-of-6 from the line. But in that time, the Cavaliers made just one basket -- a James' three.
With the score 97-89, Curry put it away with another three with 1:22 remaining.
The Warriors started small again and the Cavaliers stayed with their same lineup. But after Golden State forced five turnovers in less than five minutes, Cavaliers coach David Blatt went small, removing Timofey Mozgov and inserting J.R. Smith.
The ex-Knick made an immediate impact. He shook off the rust from last game's 0-for-8 performance from three and knocked down his first two shots -- both three-pointers.
Smith provided the Cavs with a needed spark and helped them take a 31-26 lead early in the second quarter after back-to-back threes. He scored 14 before halftime. But the first half belonged to the two superstars -- James and Curry -- and ended with the Warriors up 51-50.
The Cavs scored 28 points in the second quarter. James was directly responsible for 24 points. He scored 12 and assisted on the Cavs' four other baskets -- all threes. Overall, James scored or assisted on 16 of the 17 buckets the Cavaliers scored in the opening half. He ended up with 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the half.