OAKLAND, CA – The drama continues.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were down 3-1 going into Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Ticket prices dropped, viewers assumed it was a done deal — the Golden State Warriors would be the champs.
Then James and Kyrie Irving scored 41 points and the Cavs were still in it. James had a repeat performance in Game 6 and now the Finals are headed to Game 7.
CNNMoney’s has come up with a “Player ROI” – a tool to determine how your favorite players are performing, relative to how much money they make. Kind of a different way to look at the game, should you need one.
Tipoff is scheduled for Sunday at 8 pm ET.
Take a look again at the new Nike video, and get pumped up for the biggest game in Cavs’ history:
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 17, 2016
1. Who will be the “Best Bang for the Buck?”
The Warriors may have lost Game 6, but guard Leandro Barbosa had a standout performance.
He had the best Player ROI with a score of 4.96 — he scored 14 points and had two assists. Being ranked at number one, earned him the status of “Best Bang for the Buck.”
Part of what makes the Brazilian Blur such a good investment is that the veteran player earns an annual average salary of $2.5 million.
2. Can James help the Cavs make history?
The Cavs would have to overcome terrible odds to win the series. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to win.
They lost in six games to the Warriors in last year’s Finals. If they hope to avoid a repeat loss, King James’ performance will be key.
James has averaged 34.4 points in five previous Game 7 appearances, including in the 2013 Finals, which he won.
In Player ROI for Game 6, James ranked 8th with a score of 1.81. His impressive 41 points and 11 assists helped him reach Earned Their Keep status — in spite of his royal average annual salary of $23.5 million.
3. Can Curry keep his cool?
Stephen Curry was ejected during Game 6 for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands and hitting a fan.
He’s had a solid Finals performance — aside from a two-game slump — and had 30 points in Game 6 which helped earn him an ROI score of 1.34, qualifying him for Earned Their Keep status.
Curry sets the tone for his team. He’ll need to put on a show on Sunday as well as stay calm. Not easy to do considering it seemed the Warriors had the championship in the bag just a few games ago.
Other Warriors players also seem frustrated. Forward Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5 because of a flagrant foul.
With an average of 14.7 points during the playoffs, Green’s absence hurt the team. Green’s ROI average during the playoffs is 0.85 — Overpaid. That’s because he hauls in a $16.4 million average annual salary.