LeBron James’ heroic stat line of 39 points (11-of-35 FG, 3-of-6 3FG), 16 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal and 1 block drove the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Golden State Warriors in overtime of Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
LeBron’s triple-double was his fifth in his NBA Finals career – second-most all-time behind Magic Johnson, who has eight (ESPN.com).
Despite producing the game-tying finger roll, MVP Stephen Curry had a night to forget. Curry shot just 21.7 per cent from the floor, with 19 points (5-of-23 FG, 2-of-15 3FG), 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
It was a peculiar game filled with stagnant offense, and one that lacked any real rhythm.
James was in attack mode from the start; the Cavaliers finished the first quarter on an 8-0 run.
The only Warrior who kept up was Klay Thompson, who completed the quarter with 9 points – it might have been more, but two early fouls sent him to the bench.
Things continued to plug away in the second quarter. By the six-minute mark, Thompson had 18 points on 8-of-11 field goals.
With Curry’s shot not falling, Kerr began to look for answers on the offensive end. Kerr went small to replicate their overtime success in Game 1.
After a significant 15 points in Game 1, Andre Iguodala’s injection again gave the crowd something to cheer about. Notching up an alley-oop dunk, an elbow jumper and an assist in a short period.
Klay Thompson 20 points (9-of-13 FG), 1 rebounds 2 assists.
LeBron James: 20 points (7-of-13 FG), 6 rebounds, 6 assists.
Cleveland picked up their defence on Thompson to open the quarter, yet two quick turnovers and a blocking foul from Matthew Dellavedova kept the Warriors in the mix.
Despite Dellavedova’s struggles on offense (9 points, 3-of-10 FG, 1-of-6 3FG, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 steals and 6 turnovers), his defensive effort was noticeable.
Both sides were fighting tooth and nail for the game’s momentum, and things were swinging the way of the home side.
But when Marreese Speights missed this open dunk, you got the feeling it wasn’t the Warriors night.
The Cavs held a 62-59 lead as the final quarter began, and it was once again Thompson acting as the Warriors’ pulse.
Cleveland just kept finding a way, and after threes from J.R. Smith and Dellavedova, the Cavs were up by 11 with five minutes remaining.
The lead stayed the same until about the three-minute mark, and then Golden State made their move.
Cleveland continued to run LeBron isolations, but thanks to some great defensive stretches by Iguodala, the Warriors pushed to within two with 39.4 seconds left.
Enter the MVP: tying the game up with 7.2 seconds left.
So for the first time in NBA Finals history, Games 1 and 2 went to overtime.
Early in OT, Cleveland pushed the lead to five, but then Draymond Green came alive.
Draymond’s first two field goals of the match came back-to-back with two minutes on the clock – cutting the lead to just one (92-91).
J.R. Smith fouled out after Curry forced him to bite on a pump fake, gifting the Warriors a 93-92 lead from the charity strike – their first of the second half.
Golden State did everything in their power to hold their advantage.
But in the end some clutch free throws by Dellavedova sealed the deal as the series shifts to Cleveland tied at 1-1.
- The winner of Game 3 when an NBA Finals series is tied goes on to win the title 84 per cent of the time.
- Cleveland has won 26 of their previous 28 home games (ESPN.com).