LeBron answers critics to give Cavs NBA Finals life

Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:19pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - LeBron James responded emphatically to critics with a transcendent NBA Finals performance that not only kept the Cleveland Cavaliers' season alive but may have put a seed of doubt into the minds of the Golden State Warriors.

James and teammate Kyrie Irving scored 41 points each for a desperate Cavaliers team that took advantage of the Warriors' playing without suspended defensive stalwart Draymond Green to pull within 3-2 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

The 112-97 win on Monday marked the first step in the Cavs' bid to become the only team to rebound from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and win the championship. They will host the Warriors in Game Six on Thursday.

"I finally did a great job of not turning the ball over and got to my spots, got my teammates involved. Just tried to put us in position to be successful," James said after Game Five.

"Obviously it's not always a bed of roses on the court for 48 minutes, but you just try to go out there and trust your keys. That's something I'm very comfortable with, and I've been

comfortable with before in the past."

James, one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, had been criticized by some onlookers early in the series for failing to step up and take over in a Finals game.

But thanks to James, whose 16 rebounds and seven assists were more than any other player on the court during Game Five, the Cavaliers appear to have a legitimate chance to pull off the greatest NBA Finals escape act.   Continued...

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) moves the ball against Golden State Warriors  forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the first half in game five of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports