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James carries Cavs to OT win, evens NBA Finals

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James carries Cavs to OT win, evens NBA Finals

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Big Three has faded. The Terrific Two is gone. And the Cleveland Cavaliers are still heading home with the NBA Finals knotted up at a game apiece.

All thanks to the Chosen One -- and his scrappy teammate from Down Under.

LeBron 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.

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.

"I tried to give it all to my teammates. And they do a great job of giving it back to me. Total team effort," said James, who shot 11 of 34 from the floor and seemed to wear down as the game dragged on. "To be back in the same position we were in three days ago and to come back and even the series is big time."

It was the second straight overtime game, and one the Cavs never should've let go so far.

Stephen 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.

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.

Dellavedova made both free throws to put Cleveland up with 10.1 seconds to play. Curry air-balled a jumper contested by Dellavedova, James got the rebound and hit one of two free throws with 4.4 seconds left.

"He was huge for us," James said about Dellavedova. "We knew we could count on him because we've been in this situation before. He gave us everything that he had and more tonight."

After James' made the free throw, Curry, without a timeout, raced up court and tried to pass ahead to Klay Thompson. But Iman Shumpert batted the ball away to seal Cleveland's win.

James waved his arms and pounded his chest near center court. He shook hands and hugged teammates emphatically as most of the fans -- wearing those bright, golden yellow shirts -- filed out of the arena.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Cleveland.

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"When we defend like we did tonight, we're going to give ourselves a chance to beat any team in this world," James said.

It was a pivotal point for the Cavs, who won their first finals game in franchise history. They were swept by the Spurs in their only other appearance in 2007, when James was just growing into the planet's best player.

Cleveland was staring at a major deficit again. Teams with a 2-0 lead have gone on to win 28 of 31 series.

Now that's one thing the Cavs won't have to overcome.

James is still left trying to carry Cleveland to its first championship in 51 years after Kyrie Irving fractured his left kneecap in Game 1. Irving had surgery in Cleveland on Saturday to join sidelined starters Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao, both of whom had already been lost for the season with injuries.

He got a little help, this time.

Timofey Mozgov had 17 points and 11 rebounds but sat out a lot late in the fourth quarter and overtime when the Warriors went to a smaller lineup. J.R. Smith scored 11 points and Dellavedova had nine.

Cavs coach David Blatt went with the same lineup that won Games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference finals when Irving was out with an injured knee. He started Dellavedova in Irving's place, and the scrappy Australian corralled Curry as much as anybody has this season.

Curry scored 19 points and shot 5 of 23 from the floor, including 2 of 15 from 3-point range.

"Shots I normally make, I knew as soon as they left my hands they were off," Curry said.

Klay Thompson tried to pick up the backcourt slack, scoring 34 points.

But The Warriors went 8 for 35 from long range and shot 39.8 percent overall. The Cavs, who shot 32.7 percent, outrebounded the Warriors 55 to 45 -- but nearly wilted late.

James sat for just 52 seconds in the first half and got two quick breaks in the third quarter. He nearly had to stay on the sideline when Green hit him the face as drove hard for a layup in the fourth quarter.

James dropped to a knee near the baseline and walked gingerly to the bench, where he sat with his head down before returning to make both free throws. He seemed to deliver the dagger with a pull-up 3-pointer to extend the Cavs' lead to 83-72 with 3:13 to play in the fourth quarter. He stopped and turned to Cleveland's bench, taking out his mouthpiece and staring at the stunned and silent crowd.

But Golden State gave its fervent fans more reason to cheer.

Curry broke his 18-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer during the Warriors' furious rally, which he finished with a tying finger-roll with 7.2 seconds remaining.

Cleveland called timeout, and got James the ball isolated on Andre Iguodala at the top of the key. James drove hard to his left and his layup rimmed out, and Tristan Thompson's tip missed to send the game to overtime.

MORE HOOPS: NBA Draft profile: Justin Anderson

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as according to a new report by ESPN, they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.

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John Wall says Wizards will do less talking this year, but could be best team he's played on

John Wall says Wizards will do less talking this year, but could be best team he's played on

The Wizards in recent years have made a habit of trying to speak things into existence and then not having them actually come into existence. They have talked the talk and then sometimes haven't walked the walk.

A few instances come to mind, including Bradley Beal saying of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers that "they didn't want to see us" in the playoffs. Beal also said in November that the Washington was the best team in the East, just hours before James scored 57 points in the Wizards' building.

John Wall has made similar proclamations in the past, usually about himself, including how he is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference. Now, these statements were all relatively normal for professional athletes who pride themselves in always feeling like they are the best player on the floor or the field. It's part of the mindset that makes them who they are.

But when those statements are made and then not backed up, they can be tough to defend, and especially for a Wizards team which last season seemed to overlook the lesser teams and suffered a down year because of it.

Wall insists all that is about to change. In his 1-on-1 interview with Chris Miller on our Wizards Tipoff podcast, Wall said the message this year will be much different, much more muted than it has been in the past.

"We want to go out with a different mindset and a different focus. We're not trying to go in and think we're a team that has already established something and got respect from people. We have to earn that respect and that means going out and competing every night against the good teams or the bad teams," he said.

That doesn't mean Wall isn't confident. His belief in himself hasn't wavered and, in fact, he may believe in his team more now than ever. That's because he is happy with the offseason the front office has produced.

They signed Dwight Howard and Jeff Green in free agency, traded for Austin Rivers and drafted Troy Brown, Jr. in the first round. All should help the Wizards improve between Howard representing an upgrade at starting center and the others providing much-needed depth.

When Wall was asked by Chris if this is the most complete team he has played with in Washington, Wall left no doubts.

"Yeah, for sure. I definitely think so," he said. "I think it gives us the opportunity where we don't have to play as many minutes. That's the key. At the end of the year, you kind of fall short because you're fatigued. Nobody uses that as an excuse. You play and try to get into the best shape possible. But if you're playing 24 minutes, the whole half, and then 24 minutes and the whole half, you kind of get tired at some point. I think those guys can take a little of the burden and pressure off of us at times."

Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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