(Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors won the battle of small-ball and defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-91 on Sunday to move within a win of their first NBA title in 40 years.
Stephen Curry scored 37 points and the Warriors withstood a 40-point triple-double from LeBron James to grab a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
With the Golden State fan base starving for a title, the Oracle Arena crowd chanted “one more to go” following the win. The Warriors can clinch their first championship since 1975 with a win in Game Six on Tuesday in Cleveland.
Their Game Five win was a battle of speed, with both teams benching their big men as a strategic move.
“It was a chess match and we both have a bunch of wings and guards that can fill a lineup,” Curry told reporters after connecting on seven three-pointers.
“They made an adjustment and tried to match our lineup. I’m sure there will be another adjustment.”
After the Warriors benched center Andrew Bogut to return to their run-and-gun style in a 21-point Game Four victory, Cleveland responded by limiting starting center Timofey Mozgov to just nine minutes on Sunday.
The move kept Cleveland close deep into the fourth quarter until Andre Iguodala scored five straight points to put Golden State ahead 91-84 with less than four minutes remaining.
Curry, who scored 17 points in the fourth, added two late
three-pointers and free throws to help seal the win.
Iguodala finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. James tallied 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his second triple-double of the series.
Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson had 19 points and 10 rebounds while James tallied 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his second triple-double of a series he is dominating.
“I want to do whatever helps our team win and I haven’t been able to do that the last two (games),” James said. “We weren’t good in Game Four (at home), we can’t repeat that or they will raise the trophy for sure.”
With the Cavs battling through limited depth and ever piling minutes for James, they kept the game close until the fourth where the night turned into a face-off between James and Curry.
James silenced the crowd with a deep three-pointer that gave the Cavs an 80-79 edge, but Curry responded with a behind-the-back pull-up three-pointer of his own on the next possession and Golden State never trailed again.
Much had been made about the defensive job that Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova had done against Curry during the Finals, but Golden State’s MVP broke out in a big way to silence that narrative.
“I’m taking (Curry) in any matchup,” team mate Green said. “(Dellavedova) was hounding — physical, dirty, whatever you want to call it. I was going with Steph no matter what, and I’m still rolling with Steph no matter what.”
Reporting by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Ian Ransom/Sudipto Ganguly