OAKLAND, Calif. - The coaches probably were experiencing the normal amount of hope and concern heading into Sunday night's Game 5 of the NBA Finals. But something gave one coach a little more hope and the other more concern.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, better known as the Splash Brothers, haven't lived up to their nickname or their status in the league through the first four games of the series that was tied 2-2.
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Curry was the MVP and Thompson an All-Star who set an NBA record this season with 37 points in one quarter. LeBron James has dominated the series while veteran Andre Iguodala has been the Warriors' best and most consistent player.
If Curry and Thompson got rolling together against the undermanned Cavaliers, the series could be over. Cavaliers coach David Blatt admitted he was worried that they would break out together.
"Very conscious and very concerned," Blatt said. "They've done that all year, and they've more than proved their value and their ability to have big games. We've just really guarded them. As a team, we've done a pretty good job helping out and being in position and forcing them into tough shots. They both have the ability to take and make tough shots and they both have the ability to have a breakout game. You can't always guarantee that you can control that, but you can do little things and big things that limit them or at least make it difficult."
On the other side, there was hope that Curry and Thompson would turn back into the Splash Brothers.
Curry, who was averaging 23.5 points going into Sunday night, seems to be finding his rhythm. He's shooting only 41.3 percent, but he was 11-for-20 from three in the prior two games with 49 points. He's also 17-for-30 from the field overall in the last six quarters.
It's gone the other way for Thompson. After scoring 34 points in the Warriors' Game 2 loss -- when Curry was 2-for-15 from deep -- Thompson was 10-for-25 with 23 points combined in Game 3 and Game 4. But Warriors coach Steve Kerr envisioned the two getting going at the same time.
"We wouldn't mind," he said. "It doesn't have to happen. But I think over time, the law of averages tend to balance out."
In Game 4, Kerr switched the starting lineup, inserting Iguodala for ineffective center Andrew Bogut and that helped the Warriors control the tempo, play with more pace and spacing. Cleveland has shown they would rather leave Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green open than rotate off Thompson when they trap Curry and force him to kick it out.
"He creates shots for others just by his presence on the floor," Curry said. "That's what makes our team great, is you have threats everywhere and you have to choose your poison, basically, of who you're going to rotate off of. All those guys found themselves wide open because of Klay's presence on the floor.
"So eventually, I think they'll make the adjustment, maybe [he'll] get some more open looks. But he's not going to be passive at all in the situation. When he gets the ball, he's going to be looking to make plays, and you can always count on that."