Wine and Gold Get Even in Overtime

Wrap-Up – If it’s possible for Cavalier fans to withstand the cardiac stress of more NBA Finals action, that action is coming back to Cleveland with the series tied up at 1-1 following the Wine and Gold’s heart-pounding 95-93 overtime victory on Sunday night at Oracle Arena.

And the hero of that thrilling victory laid out exactly what he expects when it does.

”I've heard our fans pretty loud before,” smiled LeBron James. “A couple instances my first postseason appearance was really loud, and me coming home against the Knicks at the start of the season was pretty good. But I know we can be much, much louder than any fan base in this league. I know they're getting ready, and I can't wait to see them.”

The four-time MVP continued his historic, heroic run through the 2015 postseason on Sunday night – tallying a game-high 39 points, 16 boards and 11 assists – going 11-of-34 from the floor, 3-of-6 from long-distance and 12-of-16 from the stripe.

James appeared to put the game away with 3:14 to play in regulation when he canned a 28-foot bomb to put Cleveland ahead by 11 – 83-72. But in a series that already indicates that nothing’s going to come easy, the Warriors came storming back -- closing the game on a furious 15-4 run, capped by Stephen Curry’s game-tying finger-roll with eight seconds remaining in the fourth.

As they did in Game 1, the Cavs had a chance to win the game in regulation. But LeBron’s short jumper rattled out and Tristan Thompson’s putback didn’t fall as the buzzer sounded.

The thrills, spills and chills didn’t stop there.

Mirroring Thursday’s overtime period, the Cavaliers hit just a single field goal in the extra-session. But unlike that Game 1 loss, Cleveland went 5-of-6 from the stripe, including a pair of critical free throws by Matthew Dellavedova with 10.1 to play that gave the Cavaliers a one-point edge.

On Golden State’s next possession, Delly blanketed Curry – whose 19-foot attempt traveled only 18 feet. LeBron snagged the airball with 5.5 to play and was fouled – splitting the pair to give Cleveland a precarious two-point advantage.

On the Warriors final possession, Iman Shumpert grabbed his second steal of the extra-session to ice the victory. As the clock ticked down to triple-zeroes, an elated LeBron spiked the ball off the Oracle Arena floor and bear-hugged his teammates, beginning with Dellavdova.

After losing Kevin Love for the season to a separated shoulder in Game 4 of their First Round matchup with Boston, the Cavaliers got more bad news on Friday morning when an MRI revealed that All-Star guard Kyrie Irving would miss the remainder of the playoffs with a fractured left knee cap.

With Irving on the shelf, the shorthanded Cavaliers – who’ve lived by the mantra “next man up” all season – turned to Dellavedova, who’s had quite a historic run of his own this postseason.

The undrafted sophomore guard from Australia didn’t post huge numbers on Sunday – he rarely, if ever, does. But numbers simply can’t define Delly’s game, and that was the case again in Game 2 – finishing with nine points on 3-for-10 shooting, adding five boards, an assist and three steals.

Three of Delly’s five rebounds came in overtime, including a huge offensive board off a James Jones’ miss that led to his clutch free throws late in the period.

”(Dellavedova)'s a courageous kid that plays right,” praised Coach David Blatt following the first Finals win in Cavaliers franchise history. “There was a lot of nonsense swirling around about his style of play. I think anyone that really looks at him objectively and fairly recognizes someone that just plays hard, heartfelt, and tough basketball.”

The numbers that do explain Dellavedova’s contribution come from Golden State’s side of the stat sheet.

On Sunday night, Curry – the league’s reigning MVP – was held to just 19 points, going 5-for-23 from the floor, including 2-of-15 from beyond the arc. Curry finished with six boards and five helpers, but also committed a team-high six miscues. He was 0-for-6 in one-on-one matchups with Cleveland's young guard.

Leading up to the overtime histrionics, the Cavaliers got another strong performance from Timofey Mozgov, who notched his third double-double of the postseason with 17 points and 11 boards – going 5-of-8 from the floor and 7-for-12 from the stripe.

Tristan Thompson had another big rebounding night himself – finishing with 14 points, grabbing exactly half of those off the offensive glass.

Thompson, Mozgov and James combined to grab 41 of Cleveland’s 55 boards. The Cavaliers – who improved to 13-0 this postseason when outrebounding their opponent – did exactly that on Sunday, outdoing Golden State by 10 on the glass.

There were plenty of rebounding opportunities, with neither team shooting particularly well in Game 2. The Cavs shot just 33 percent from the floor, including 33 percent from long-distance. The Warriors, who lead the league in three-point shooting, shot just 23 percent from deep on Sunday. Klay Thompson led Golden State with 34 points, but he and his fellow Splash Brother combined to shoot just 6-for-27 from downtown.

J.R. Smith, who was the only Cavalier reserve to score in Game 1, finished with 13 points before fouling out late in overtime. In Game 2, Smith got some help from James Jones, who drilled a pair of big first-half treys, finishing with eight points and two steals.

Timofey Mozgov

LBJ records triple double.

View some of the best snapshots.

Cavs D comes up big.

Go inside the locker room.

Watch final game highlights from Game 2.

Turning Point – Before all the late drama, Golden State looked like it might blow out the wounded Wine and Gold right out of the gate – running out to a 20-12 lead and sending their sold-out crowd into an early frenzy.

But after a Cavaliers timeout, LeBron scored quickly on a well-designed play to spring him for an easy layup. That seemed to ignite the Cavaliers, who proceeded to tie the game at 20-apiece to end the first quarter. The Cavaliers would eventually extend their lead to seven late in the second before the Warriors clawed back to get within a deuce before intermission.

There was still 24 minutes of basketball to play – plus another bonus five-minute period for the second straight game, an NBA Finals first to start the series. But the Wine and Gold weathered Golden State’s first barrage, setting themselves up for the thrilling victory in the second stanza.

By the Numbers13 … career postseason triple-doubles for LeBron James, including his second this postseason. The 11-time All-Star has also now posted 56 playoff games in which he’s notched at least 30 points, five boards and five assists. He’s now won at least one road game in 22 straight postseason series.

QuotableLeBron James, on his squad’s resilience in the Finals …

”If you're looking for us to play sexy, cute basketball, then that's not us. Everything is tough. We're going to come in with an aggressive mindset defensively and offensively. And for us to win a Finals game shooting 32 percent from the field, it's just a testament of how gritty we can be. It has to be that for the rest of the series, no matter how many games it takes.”

Up Next – After Sunday’s white-knuckle win, the Finals shift back to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 at The Q on Tuesday and Thursday night, respectively. The series returns to Oakland for Game 5 next Sunday and, if necessary back to the North Coast next Tuesday night for Game 6. If the Finals extend to Game 7, the Conference champs will square off on Friday night, June 19, back at Oracle Arena.