For those who have missed all of the 2015 NBA finals, here is all you need to know.
Game one saw many injuries to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and a triumph in overtime for the Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry had 26 points and eight assists, and the Golden State Warriors withstood a 44-point effort by LeBron James for a thrilling 108-100 victory.
For the first time in 40 years, the Warriors gave their long-suffering fans quite a treat. They rallied from an early 14-point deficit, absorbed a personal Finals best point total from James, and shut down Cleveland in the extra session.
James shot 18-of-38 from the field, and had eight rebounds and six assists in 46 minutes. However, the four-time MVP missed a long jumper at the end of regulation. Cleveland also missed its first eight shots of overtime and 12 straight going back to the fourth quarter.
Adding to the Cavs’ frustration, point guard Kyrie Irving limped to the locker room after aggravating his troublesome left knee in overtime. He did not return.
With Kevin Love already out, the Cavs obviously need Irving. He missed two games in the Eastern Conference finals because of knee and foot injuries, and sounded unsure of his status for Game 2 on Sunday in Oakland.
There were 13 lead changes and 11 ties in a game tightly contested across the board. There was little edge in shooting (Warriors 44.3 percent, Cavaliers 41.5 percent) rebounding (Warriors 48, Cavaliers 45) or assists (Warriors 24, Cavaliers 19).
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.
Curry had a horrific shooting performance, but converted the tying layup for the Warriors late in regulation. The MVP also put Golden State in front 93-92 on free throws with 29.5 seconds left in overtime.
Senior Nicole Farganis said, “That was the worst I have ever seen Curry play all season. It seemed like anything he tried wouldn’t work. You could see clear agitation in his face, which probably added to the terrible performance.”
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 was fouled.
“That’s the classic thing you practice as a kid growing up,” Dellavedova said. “I felt like I’ve been in that situation a million times before.”
During Game 3, pushed by a crowd howling to see Cleveland’s 51-year title drought end, James scored 40 points, his new sidekick Dellavedova added 20, and the Cavaliers survived Golden State’s furious fourth-quarter comeback led by Curry for a 96-91 win over the Warriors on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
Senior Myriah Morales said, “As a lifelong Cleveland fan, I can say that the stadium has not been that loud in years. Without LeBron there it felt like the people had just given up, but they have definitely found new life.”
James added 12 rebounds and eight assists in 46 minutes, his third stellar performance in his fifth straight Finals. The Cavs, who won Game 2 at Golden State for their first ever Finals win, got their first at Quicken Loans Arena, which shook from start to finish.
Through three games, James has played 142 of 154 possible minutes, scored 123 points and took 107 shots. With Irving and Love out with injuries, it’s all on James to deliver. So far, he has.
“I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to help our team win,” James said. “It’s the Finals, and it’s whatever it takes. This is a totally different challenge.”
After evening the NBA Finals 2-2 with 103-82 thumping of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr came out and said it. Accurately describing the contributions of forward Andre Iguodala, Kerr declared, “He’s been our best player through four games.”
It’s true, if a little unfathomable. League MVP Curry has been good (22 points on 17 shots Thursday night), but Iguodala has been absolutely crucial in a series that demands someone contain James.
The Warriors recognized that and made a bold change. Iguodala was to start, in place of center Andrew Bogut. It was the first time all season that the Warriors changed their starting lineup for a reason other than health.
After the game, Iguodala remarked on his specialized, seasoned skill set, saying, “We’ve got a lot of great players in this league that can score the ball in bunches. You know, it’s like 10 or 15 guys in this league. I’ve had a chance to guard all of them. I’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Have you been watching the Finals? Who are you rooting for?