It all comes down to tonight. One game, one performance, one opportunity to lift a NBA Championship.
It doesn’t get any better than this. And either the Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers will cut their own slice of history when the 2016 NBA Finals are decided on the coin toss of a Game 7 in Oakland.
All season long, the Warriors have been an express train, stopping for no-one. A record 73 wins. A second MVP award for the indomitable Stephen Curry. All designed to be a mere prelude to the successful defence of their title.
But the banged-up, riled-up Dubs have never looked more vulnerable. Andrew Bogut is out. Andre Iguodala is hobbled. Draymond Green has wobbled.
And even Curry – averaging only 23.5 points in this series – acknowledges he might have to play the best game of his career to revive Golden State’s mood after two consecutive losses that have given the Cavs hope where all seemed lost.
The Warriors remain 1.49 to win out on their own floor. But Cleveland smell blood. Their Game 5 and 6 victories came by 15 and 14 points respectively – and, win or lose, LeBron James should be a no-brainer Finals MVP.
Averaging 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists in this series, he has reminded us that he remains basketball’s transcendent performer, a brilliant freak of nature.
He came back to Cleveland in 2014 vowing to end the city’s championship jinx that was set long before he was born. To do so while willing the Cavaliers – who are 2.65 to prevail - to be the first foe ever to rally from a 3-1 deficit would leave an unquestionable legacy.
With Bogut’s defensive presence removed, the Cavs have scored over 112 in their past two games. To prevail, their rivals will have to look into the cupboard for the magic dust that has gone astray.
If Curry is the wizard we saw all year long, the champs can keep hold of their throne. If not, the majesty of James can claim the throne.
It really could go either way. No contest so far has been decided by less than 11 points but with so much at stake, this might be the most brutal of duels.
Toss a coin.
Best bet: In Match Parlay, take Golden State at -5.5 and Over 206.5 Total Points at 3.80