It’s per­sonal for Cava­liers

With James lead­ing way, Cleve­land makes state­ment

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Mike Bres­na­han

OAK­LAND — LeBron James tried to warn every­body. Any­body.

Don’t de­clare the Cleve­land Cava­liers done. He’s still on the team, af­ter all.

Sure enough, Cleve­land stunned the Golden State War­riors in over­time Sun­day, 95-93, evening the NBA Fi­nals at one game each.

James didn’t shoot well, mak­ing only 11 of 35, but had 39 points, 16 re­bounds and 11 as­sists in 50 min­utes. He spiked the ball hard on the court af­ter the game, en­er­gized by victory at Or­a­cle Arena.

Matthew Dellave­dova, a starter only be­cause of Kyrie Irv­ing ’s in­jury, had the de­ci­sive points, mak­ing two free throws with 10.1 sec­onds left in over­time af­ter get­ting fouled while grab­bing an of­fen­sive re­bound.

“Our guys love the fact that we’ve been counted out and come into the se­ries be­ing an un­der­dog ... es­pe­cially af­ter Kyrie got hurt,” James said. “We’re with­out two All­Stars, and I don’t know any other team in this league that would be able to do that, be with­out two All­Stars ... and be a force. So the guys are tak­ing that very per­sonal.”

There was also new life for the Cava­liers, stranded by seem­ingly every­body ex­cept them­selves af­ter los­ing Irv­ing in Game 1 be­cause of a frac­tured kneecap. It came a lit­tle

more than a month af­ter Kevin Love sus­tained a sea­son-end­ing dis­lo­cated shoul­der.

Games 3 and 4 are in Cleve­land, and could they get any more al­lur­ing? The NBA Fi­nals had never seen its first two games head to over­time un­til now.

Stephen Curry had a mis­er­able Sun­day, mak­ing only five of 23 shots and set­ting a Fi­nals record for most missed three-point shots. He was two for 15 be­hind the arc, highly un­char­ac­ter­is­tic for the NBA’s most valu­able player.

With the War­riors down one in the fi­nal sec­onds of over­time, Curry shot an air­ball from 19 feet. James made only one of two free throws with 4.4 sec­onds left, but, with the War­riors out of time­outs, Curry was charged with a turnover af­ter mess­ing up a pass to Klay Thomp­son near mid­court.

Curry didn’t have any an­swers.

“Shots I nor­mally make, I knew as soon as they left my hand that they were off. That doesn’t usu­ally hap­pen,” he said. “I mean, 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.”

The Cava­liers never won a Fi­nals game in their 45year his­tory un­til Sun­day.

Strange stuff hap­pened to Golden State most of the night.

Curry missed 10 of his first 11 three-point at­tempts and then passed John Starks for most long-range mis­fires in the Fi­nals (11 in 1994 with New York).

Golden State was eight for 35 be­hind the arc (22.9%) af­ter mak­ing a com­mend­able 38% in the play­offs be­fore Sun­day.

Mar­resse Speights some- how missed a fast­break dunk with no­body around him, al­low­ing Cleve­land to en­ter the fourth quar­ter with a 62-59 lead.

The Cava­liers weren’t very ac­cu­rate them­selves (32.2% over­all) but took an 83-72 lead on James’ three­p­ointer with 3:14 left in the fourth quar­ter. He fol­lowed it with some ex­ag­ger­ated clap­ping as he went to the bench af­ter a War­riors time­out.

The game was seem­ingly over. Even the nor­mally rau­cous War­riors crowd fell si­lent.

Then An­dre Iguo­dala and Curry each made three­p­oint­ers, Har­ri­son Barnes con­verted a three-point play the old way — get­ting fouled on a dunk — and the War­riors were back in busi­ness on Curry’s game-ty­ing layup with 7.2 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion.

James missed on a drive to the bas­ket, Tris­tan Thomp­son couldn’t con­vert a tip-in and the game went to over­time.

With James strug­gling — he missed 17 of his last 21 shots — Iman Shumpert was one of Cleve­land’s unof­fi­cial he­roes, mak­ing a three­p­ointer early in over­time and get­ting credit for the steal off Curry with 2.2 sec­onds to play.

The week­end had al­ready in­cluded the end of a decades-long drought, Amer­i­can Pharoah be­com­ing the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown.

Maybe Cleve­land, not Golden State, will be the one break­ing a cham­pi­onship bas­ket­ball jinx.

Ben Mar­got As­so­ci­ated Press

A MON­STER NIGHT is wor­thy of a huge roar from LeBron James, who car­ried the Cava­liers to an over­time win with 39 points, 16 re­bounds and 11 as­sists de­spite miss­ing 24 of 35 shots.

Ezra Shaw Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

WAR­RIORS GUARD Stephen Curry tries to get a shot up against Cava­liers cen­ter Tris­tan Thomp­son in the first half. Curry made only five of 23 shots.


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