James carries Cavs to OT win over Warriors to even NBA Finals
OAKLAND, California (AP):
The final buzzer sounded and LeBron James wasn't done.
As fans filed out of the quieting arena, James grabbed the ball and spiked it with all his might. He flexed his arms and pounded his chest, letting out a roar that echoed from California to Cleveland.
James turned in a triple-double to remember, Matthew Dellavedova made the go-ahead free throws in overtime, and the Cavaliers overcame a fourth-quarter collapse to outlast the Golden State Warriors 95-93 on Sunday night to even the NBA Finals at a game apiece.
James finished with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in 50 minutes, carrying Cleveland's depleted roster to victory on the NBA's toughest home floor. The Warriors had been 47-3 at ear-piercing Oracle Arena.
Total team effort
"I tried to give it all to my teammates. And they do a great job of giving it back to me. Total team effort," said James, who shot 11 of 35 from the floor and seemed to wear down as the game dragged on. "To be back in the same position we were in three days ago and to come back and even the series is big time."
Game Three is tonight in Cleveland.
James is still left trying to carry Cleveland to their first championship in 51 years after Kyrie Irving fractured his left kneecap in Game One. Irving had surgery in Cleveland on Saturday to join sidelined starters Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao, both of whom had already been lost for the season with injuries.
Cavs coach David Blatt went with the same line-up that won Games Two and Three of the Eastern Conference finals when Irving was out with an injured knee. He started Dellavedova in Irving's place and the scrappy Australian corralled Curry as much as anybody has this season.
Curry scored 19 points and shot five of 23 from the floor, including two of 15 from three-point range and had six turnovers.
"Shots I normally make I knew as soon as they left my hand that they were off. That doesn't usually happen," Curry said. "Mechanically, I don't know if there is an explanation for it, just didn't have a rhythm and didn't find one the whole game."
Klay Thompson tried to pick up the backcourt slack, scoring 34 points. But the Warriors went eight for 35 from long range and shot 39.8 per cent overall.
"This is the finals. It's hard. It's supposed to be hard," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We had a tough night. So you have to move on. You've got to learn from it and get better and that's what we're going to do."