- News in Photo
* Warriors: Why don’t we do it in the road?
* LeBron, Cavs seek Game 7
* Green back; Bogut out
CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James has watched “The Godfather’’ trilogy over and over during these playoffs. The Oscar-winning films about crime, family, honor – and revenge – soothe and motivate him. He can’t get enough.
But while he’s not tired of the classic films, there’s a final scene in the NBA Finals he has witnessed too many times, and if he can avoid it again Thursday night, there will be an offer he and the Cleveland Cavaliers can’t refuse.
“Two of the best words ever,’’ James said, “Game 7.’’
On the strength of a historic performance by James and Kyrie Irving in Game 5, the Cavs saved their season and are home with a second chance to even this unpredictable series against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who will be back at full strength for Game 6 with forward Draymond Green returning from his one-game suspension for bad behavior.
James has been in this spot before.
So have the Warriors.
It was on June 16 last year when they closed out a short-handed Cavaliers squad in six games to win their first title since 1975. The Warriors, their families and friends partied into the early morning hours in Quicken Loans Arena, spraying champagne around their small locker room and adding another close-but-no-title entry to Cleveland’s 52-year-old list of sports misery.
The Cavs, who are trying to become the first team in history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals, can’t bear the thought of Stephen Curry and Co. doing it to them a second time.
“No matter where it gets done, stopping them is the point,’’ J.R. Smith said. “If they win it here, it’s going to hurt. If they get it there, it’s going to hurt.’’
To avoid any pain whatsoever, and pack this series up for a third trip to Northern California, the Cavs can’t count on James and Irving to duplicate their effort in Game 5, when they scored 41 points apiece and had a hand in 97 as Cleveland won 112-97. It would help if they got something from Kevin Love, who scored just 2 points in the close-out game and added only three rebounds in 33 minutes.
Meanwhile, Warriors center Andrew Bogut will miss the remainder of the NBA Finals with multiple bone bruises in his left knee, the defending NBA champions announced Wednesday.
‘‘It’s bad news. Boges has made an impact in this series,’’ Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ‘‘Last two we played him fewer minutes, but still he’s a defensive presence at the rim and rebounder and a great passer. So we’ll miss the minutes he has been giving us.’’
The Australian 7-footer (2.13m) suffered the injury Monday at Oakland early in the third quarter of game five when leaping to try and block a shot by Cleveland’s J.R. Smith, who struck Bogut’s leg, causing him to land awkwardly on his left leg.
He writhed in pain on the court holding his knee until being helped off the court. An MRI exam Tuesday showed deep bruises to his proximal tibia and distal femur bones.
‘‘It’s tough not to have Boges out there,’’ said Green.