24 — Following memorable performances by Carlos Santana (Game 2) and Usher (Game 4), Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, Bay Area natives, thrash the national anthem.. LeBron & Co. just glad it wasn’t For Whom the Bell Tolls.
23 — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Warriors stick with Andre Iguodala and small ball in starting lineup. No lie, Steve Kerr.
22 — Five minutes, five turnovers, two points. Are the Cavs playing with a square basketball?
21 — Fish will fly. Birds will swim. Elephants will tap dance on the head of a pin. J.R. Smith bangs in first two 3-pointers of the game. The good J.R.
20 — Then he lays out Draymond Green like a tractor-trailer smashing through a whipped cream pie. Flagrant 1. The bad J.R.
19 — That “stop whining, start playing” lecture Draymond got from his mama and grandma produced a 10-point, two dunk start in the first nine minutes.
18 — Welcome to the 21st century. In “Small Ball Finals” LeBron James plays center and guards Shaun Livingston.
17 — Shades of 1980? Remember Game 6 when Magic Johnson stepped into Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s spot at center and delivered 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists in Lakers’ close-out win at Philly. LeBron in the middle and the Cavs have pace very much to their liking.
16 — As J.R. bangs home back-to-back 26-footers for his third and fourth treys in 10 minutes off the bench, just one sound big heard inside Oracle: “Uh-ooooooooooh!”
14 — Pace and ball movement starting to tip the feel back in direction of the Warriors. They’re a thing of beauty when sharing and have assists on 15 of first 17 buckets.
13 — It’s one thing to be J.R. Smith, showing up for first time in five games to sling in a handful of jumpers to get attention and quite another to be the engine that is LeBron and have to pull the train. Near triple-double (20-8-8) already and he either scored or assisted on 15 consecutive Cleveland hoops from middle first quarter to halftime.
12 — Could that have been J.R.’s cousin who won Jamba Juice for everybody inside Oracle during last timeout? Guy missed first eight 3-pointers, then made last one.
11 — This is Steph Curry The Finals have been waiting on, “bouncy and fresh,” as he once described himself, like one of those little sheets you toss into your dryer.
10 — This “small ball” stuff is so much fun that Andrew Bogut and Timofey Mozgov probably just wish they were at a sports bar knocking back a few pitchers at sports bar while watching it.
7 — David Blatt rode LeBron hard in third before finally giving him a break with 1:58 left. With 24-12-9 already, how much more does James have left fourth quarter, down 73-67?
6 — LeBron’s running jumper 12 seconds in gives him more fourth quarter points than all of Game 4.
5 — Iman Shumpert’s corner 3 off pass from you-know-who gives LeBron his second triple-double of Finals (29-12-10). That’s James’ 6th career triple-double in Finals, trailing only Magic Johnson’s record of 8.
4 — Splish! Splash! Cavs take a bath, long about a Sunday night on back-to-back 3s by Curry and Klay Thompson. Worth the wait: Steph is finally Steph with 37 and 7 treys.
3 — Perhaps the only thing funnier than Curry’s so-called “mean-face” is watching serial free throw mauler Iguodala (2-for-11) try to run away from would-be foulers to avoid a trip back to the line.
2 — LeBron racks up first 40-point triple-double since Michael Jordan 30 years ago. Please, let’s not have anyone embarrass themselves by still questioning what he brings to the table and pointing out a 2-4 Finals record if this thing ends on Tuesday night. For the second time in Finals history, MVP could come from losing team.
1 — For directions to a championship, just make a right turn at Planet Iggy. Warriors coach Steve Kerr: “He’s been our best player in the series.”