The Big Three has faded. The Terrific Two is gone. And the Cleveland Cavaliers are still heading home with the NBA Finals knotted up at a game apiece.
All thanks to the Chosen One.
LeBron 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.
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, who had been 47-3 at ear-piercing Oracle Arena, had no answer for James or Cleveland’s suddenly stifling defense most of the night.
It was the second straight overtime game in this scintillating series, and one the Cavs never should’ve let go so far.
Stephen Curry had a horrific shooting performance but converted the tying layup for the Warriors in the final seconds of regulation. The newly minted MVP also put Golden State in front 93-92 on free throws with 29.5 seconds left in overtime.
Then, Draymond Green met James at the rim to block his left-handed layup, but the Cavs retained possession. After James Jones missed a 3-pointer, Dellavedova grabbed the rebound and got fouled.
Dellavedova made both free throws to put Cleveland in front with 10.1 seconds to play. Curry air-balled a jumper contested by Dellavedova, James got the rebound and hit one of two free throws with 4.4 seconds left.
Curry, without a timeout, raced up court and tried to pass ahead to Klay Thompson. But Iman Shumpert batted the ball away to seal Cleveland’s win.
James waved his arms and pounded his chest near center court. He shook hands and hugged teammates emphatically as most of the sellout crowd 19,596 – wearing those bright, golden yellow shirts – filed out of the arena.
Game 3 is Tuesday night in Cleveland.