OAKLAND, Calif. – Point guard Matthew Dellavedova hit two free throws with 10.1 seconds remaining Sunday night, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 95-93 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors and tying the NBA Finals at one game apiece.
The best-of-seven series heads to Cleveland for Games Three and Four on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. A Game Five, now assured, will be played next Sunday back in Oakland.
Cavaliers forward LeBron James recorded his fifth career triple-double in a Finals game with 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, helping Cleveland offset a 108-100 Warriors’ win in overtime in Game One on Thursday night.
The NBA Finals never previously opened with back-to-back overtime games. The Warriors rallied from an 11-point deficit with just over three minutes left Sunday to force the extra session.
The Cavaliers were able to even the series despite the absence of point guard Kyrie Irving, who sustained a season-ending broken left kneecap in the Game One loss.
After point guard Stephen Curry gave the Warriors their first lead since the second quarter, 93-92, with 29.5 seconds remaining, Dellavedova was fouled while attempting to follow in a missed three-point try from forward James Jones.
Scoreless until the fourth quarter, Dellavedova, a product of Saint Mary’s College in the Oakland suburb of Moraga, Calif., calmly hit both free throws for a one-point lead, which he helped preserve when he harassed Curry into an airball at the other end.
James, fouled on the rebound, capped the scoring with one free throw with 4.4 seconds remaining.
Center Timofey Mozgov had a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double for the Cavaliers, who won despite shooting just 32.6 percent from the field. J.R. Smith added 13 points and Dellavedova scored nine in 41 minutes.
Shooting guard Klay Thompson led Golden State with 34 points. Curry finished with 19 but missed 18 of his 23 shots, including 13 of his 15 three-point attempts. The 13 missed three-point shots were an NBA Finals record.
The Cavaliers, held to two points in the five-minute overtime in Game One, surpassed that total on their second shot this time around, with shooting guard Iman Shumpert taking James’ 11th assist and converting it into a three-pointer 1:13 into the period.
Two free throws by James increased the lead to 92-87 with 3:17 left before Golden State, as it had at the end of regulation, rallied again.
The Warriors missed their first five shots of the overtime, but power forward Draymond Green tipped in the fifth failure, then followed in a miss of his own, making it a one-point game with 2:00 remaining.
Neither team scored again until Curry’s two free throws with 29.5 seconds left.
As in Game One, the Cavaliers had the final two shots at a regulation win, but James couldn’t finish a driving left-hander and power forward Tristan Thompson was too strong with a tip-in attempt in traffic just prior to the horn.
Cleveland, up 11 with 3:13 to go, couldn’t hold on down the stretch of regulation. Golden State reserve swingman Andre Iguodala and Curry hit consecutive three-pointers to spark a 15-4, quarter-ending run, with Curry’s driving layup with 7.2 seconds remaining forging the 87-all tie.
Dellavedova and Smith helped the Cavaliers take the big lead that appeared to be driving them to a regulation win.
Dellavedova, who started in Irving’s place but was scoreless through three quarters, hit his first two jumpers of the night early in the fourth period, breaking a 62-all tie.
The lead extended to 73-66 before Smith and Dellavedova sandwiched a pair of Thompson free throws to push the margin to 79-68 with 5:00 remaining, the Cavaliers’ first double-digit lead of the night.
A three-pointer by James gave Cleveland its biggest lead at 83-72 with 3:13 to go before the Warriors’ late frantic flurry.
Mozgov scored all 17 of his points in the first three quarters, helping the Cavaliers to a 62-59 lead through 36 minutes. James had 26 points through three periods.