Momentum-shifting Game 5 awaits Warriors and Cavaliers

20 of the last 28 teams that have won Game 5 of a tied NBA Finals have gone on to win the title. That stat alone is enough to make the Golden State Warriors’ latest battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers vital, let alone any wider context of the series.

Heading back home after levelling the series at 2-2, the Warriors look to have wrestled the momentum back in what has been a constantly-changing tussle.

Steve Kerr’s decision to start Andre Iguodala instead of Andrew Bogut in Game 4 at the Quicken Loans Arena paid huge dividends, as the Warriors were able to quash LeBron James’ production in a one-sided 103-82 win.

Having averaged 41 points through the first three games, the Cavaliers star was held to just 20 and made seven of his 22 shots in Game 4, putting pressure on his teammates to score instead. They weren’t able to.

A fatigued and injury-ravaged Cavaliers squad simply could not live with the Warriors’ new smaller, quicker lineup and for the first time in the series, a lopsided scoreline was the result.

Iguodala’s performance typified the Warriors’ philosophy this season. The 31-year-old had started every single game of his NBA career before Kerr wound up at the Warriors.

One of the first decisions the new coach made was to bring Iguodala off the bench, something he’d never done before. The former All Star unselfishly bought in to the decision and has helped the Warriors tremendously throughout the season as Sixth Man.

But, called in to start his first game of the season, in the most pressurised of situations, the former Philadelphia 76er delivered, scoring 22 points, grabbing eight rebounds and acting as chief defender on James.

It is unclear whether Kerr will keep his first reserve in the starting lineup for Game 5 now that the Warriors are back at home, but Ladbrokes make the hosts heavy 1/4 favourites for victory nonetheless.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.