As Rocky once said in the third movie, "there is no tomorrow." Well, there is a tomorrow, but it will be without a chance for an elusive Cleveland championship if the Cleveland Cavaliers lose. Nobody knows that more than veteran Cleveland Cavaliers point-forward LeBron James. Regardless of Game 6, LeBron is already one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA. He might be the very best when it comes to elimination games in the playoffs. Not only has LeBron averaged 32.4 points, 11 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor, but the 31-year-old has dominated in such games. While his teams currently hold an 8-7 record with their backs against the wall in a playoff series, James has the highest points per game average in elimination games in NBA history. If LeBron James has his way Game 6 won't be the last elimination game he plays in the 2015-16 NBA season.
For there to be a Game 7, Cleveland must take care of business at home in the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena Thursday night in Game 6 in order to force James' favorite words: a decisive Game 7 back in California Sunday night, per cleveland.com's Joe Vardon.
"I feel like we'll be prepared for Game 6 ... We have a great opportunity to protect home court and go into two of the best words ever, and that's Game 7."
With the way No. 23 plays when facing elimination, I would be looking forward to a Game 7 as well. Luckily for the Cavs, the do-it-all man knows what to do in order to allow his team to advance.
"Grab some rebounds, find some teammates. Guys put the ball in my face and get some blocks, and guys throw some errant passes and I'm able to get some steals ... It's that simple. It's not easy, but it's that simple," he said. "I just go out and play. I don't know what happens in elimination games. I understand the magnitude of it, but it's not -- it doesn't bother me too much. ... I know how true I am to the game. I know how much work that I put into the game when no cameras are around and things of that nature. So I'm able to try to just bottle that, just bottle that and live with the results. I mean, it's not always been great, but I guess the last few games, elimination games it's been pretty good, and hopefully I can continue that (Thursday)."
Just how good is LeBron with his back against the wall? This good.
For the first time in the 2016 playoffs, the Cavaliers faced elimination in Game 5 of the Finals Monday night. While leading his team to a victory in a hostile Oakland environment, James filled up the stat sheet with 41 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and three blocks while making 16-of-30 shots from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. His impressive performance, along with the fact that point guard Kyrie Irving also scored 41 points, marked NBA history as well for teammates dominating together. James and Irving were the first teammates to ever score at least 40 points each in an NBA Finals game.
If the Cavaliers want to finish the 2016 postseason with a perfect 3-0 record in elimination games, along with being the first team ever to come all the way back from a 3-1 hole in the Finals in league history, James and the rest of the Cavs can only have their eyes looking ahead. If James can continue his hot streak in elimination games, the Wine and Gold will be in good shape Thursday night when they look to tie up the series at 3-3 and force Game 7.