Monday was one of those textbook cliche nights in sports.
One win from clinching a second-straight championship, the Golden State Warriors were leading the NBA Finals 3-1 and enjoying the spoils of Oracle Arena, where they’d lost just three games all season. Stephen Curry was back, having poured in 38 points Friday after being limited to 37 combined in the two games prior.
To Warriors fans, playing Game 5 was probably just a formality. Their team was surely going to don championship caps and hoist a trophy at game’s end.
That is, until LeBron James and Kyrie Irving unleashed 41 points apiece to keep the Cavaliers alive in the best-of-seven series.
At least one person in the Royals’ clubhouse was thrilled with that outcome. Shortstop Alcides Escobar has an extensive NBA jersey collection, including several in Cleveland’s colors. During the finals, he’s had a few Irving jerseys hanging in his locker at Kauffman Stadium.
Rooting for the Cavaliers comes naturally to Escobar. He has followed James since his time with the Miami Heat and remained a fan when he returned to Cleveland. Along the way, Escobar became enamored with the way James and Irving play together.
Escobar brought his jerseys back to The K on Tuesday. And he remains confident about what the Cavs might be able to accomplish Thursday in Game 6 front of their home crowd.
“I was never worried they’d lose” Monday, Escobar said. “They have a great team, and they made a comeback. Now they’re going home. Anything can happen.”