LeBron James already has done almost everything possible to give the undermanned Cavaliers a chance in these NBA Finals, and now that they're facing elimination, he plans to do more.
"I don't put a ceiling on what I can do," James said. "I've got to be better."
Most popular sports stories
James is nearly averaging a triple-double in the series. The only numbers that matter, though, are the Warriors have won the last two games and lead 3-2. They can bring home their first championship since 1975 in Game 6 Tuesday night in Cleveland.
But James, sounding more sure of himself than ever, doesn't want to see the Warriors celebrate on his home court -- and he will have something to say about that.
"I feel confident because I'm the best player in the world," James said. "It's that simple.
"I want to do whatever it takes to help our team win, and I haven't been able to do that the last two. Hopefully I can do a better job Tuesday."
Being home could help the Cavaliers. But NBA MVP Stephen Curry has found his unrivaled shooting touch over the last 10 quarters. And he's getting much more help than James.
Curry scored a scintillating 37 points in the Warriors' 104-93 Game 5 win Sunday. James, a two-time NBA champion, was just as sublime, registering 40 points and a triple-double.
James has put the Cavaliers, minus All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, on his back and carried them against the loaded and deep Warriors. He's averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists, which is the main reason Cleveland is still playing. James believes the Cavaliers will still be playing after Tuesday.
"We're going home with a Game 6, and we've got enough to win it," James said. "If we protect home like we're capable of doing, we force a Game 7. I feel confident."
But even the best player in the world can't do it alone.
In the past two games, guards J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert are 17-for-68 combined, including 11-for-47 on three-pointers, and have totaled 48 points in more than 215 minutes.
Cavs coach David Blatt went small in Game 5 to match the Warriors, leading to some second-guessing. After center Timofey Mozgov had 28 points in Game 4, he played nine minutes and was scoreless Sunday. The Cavaliers also failed to grab some crucial fourth-quarter rebounds.
"I thought [going small] was our best chance to win, and we definitely were in the game with a chance to win," a defensive Blatt said.
Ultimately, the Cavaliers couldn't stop Curry in crunch time. He dazzled, scoring 17 in the fourth, whipping the crowd into a frenzy and helping the Warriors pull away. Afterward Curry was treated for dehydration, but he's expected to be fine for Game 6.
Down the stretch, Curry made Dellavedova look helpless on one particular play.
Curry dribbled behind his back, crossed over in the front, stepped back and buried the three-pointer. It will be replayed over and over, and could end up being the signature play of this series. But Curry advised we talk to him when the Finals are over.
"It was a fun moment," Curry said. "But it only means something, and I'll probably have a better answer for that question after we win the championship because signature moments only come for players who are holding the trophy at the end of the day.
"So I can sit here and talk about what a great play it was and what a turning moment it might have been, but we have to be able to back it up and finish the job."
James plans to have something to say about that.