The Warriors are one win away from repeating as NBA Champions. After beating the Cavaliers in Game 4 to get a 3-1 lead, they will have three opportunities to close the series, the first of which will come on Monday at Oracle Arena.
Golden State will be without Draymond Green for Game 5, since he was suspended when the league decided to call him for a flagrant 1 foul following an incident with LeBron James. That's a huge loss for the defending champions, as Green had arguably been their best player in the series. His ability to play center on small lineups really unlocked the Warriors' full potential on both ends and has been a big reason why they are in control. Without him, Steve Kerr will have to rethink his entire game plan.
One option would be to start Andre Iguodala in his place and keep Andrew Bogut at center. That would be a way to keep his rotation as similar as it normally is while maximizing the time Iguodala spends guarding LeBron James. Bogut is not the passer Green is, but he can facilitate from the elbows. If those two absorb most of Green's minutes and are effective, the Warriors will be fine. If other big men are asked to step up, however, things could get dicey.
The Cavaliers will need to take advantage of this opportunity. Without Green, Golden State could be vulnerable on defense on pick and rolls that involve its centers. They will need to avoid the temptation of simply having James post up or Irving go one-on-one and instead involve the big men in screening actions that could spring leaks in a typically air-tight team defense. If they do that, they could stave off elimination and go back home with a chance to tie the series and force a Game 7.
The Warriors have lost just once at home in the playoffs and were dominant in Oakland throughout the regular season. The Cavaliers have struggled on the road in the past two series. Everything points to Golden State emerging victorious, yet Green's absence looms large. Anything could happen.
How to watch Warriors vs. Cavaliers Game 5
Place: Oracle Arena
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Streaming: ABC Live
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