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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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Gilbert Arenas doesn't like bench mobs, gives very on-brand reason

Gilbert Arenas doesn't like bench mobs, gives very on-brand reason

Gilbert Arenas was an attention-grabbing, electric player on the court. That's equally true off it, where Agent Zero has made a name for himself saying outrageous things and playing the jester. 

Arenas was back at it with another controversial take on his No Chill podcast this week. This time, he took aim at bench mobs.

"[The] only thing that irritates the s--- out of me, is when someone scores and they're like shooting the arrows and they havin' this big ole hype party on the bench ... f--- that ... I want your position. I don't want you to do good."

Bench celebrations have to be some of the most fun, light-hearted and beloved parts of an NBA game. Just look at this. 

Sure, players are drawing attention to themselves by cheering on their teammates, but who begrudges guys for rooting for their own team's success?

Arenas, apparently.

It might sound odd that a guy like Gil couldn't relate to goofy antics. Take a closer look at his history, though, and it makes perfect sense. 

Arenas was one of the most ball-dominant guards in the NBA at a time when Kobe Bryant dominated. That's saying something.

Just compare him versus Bradley Beal, for example. 

Arenas averaged 19 or more shots per game in four of his eight seasons with the Wizards. Beal, by contrast, has only done that once.

Arenas also logged 39 minutes per game while playing for Washington. Even last season when Beal's playing time was a concern, he played 37 minutes a night. 

Of course Arenas can't relate to sitting back and watching his teammates take his minutes or his shots. He had no experience doing either of those things.

There's also the indisputable fact that Agent Zero loves to stir up controversy. If the general consensus is one thing, Arenas gets attention by saying the other. 

Look no further than a few weeks ago. When most NBA players and fans were excited about Vince Carter deciding to try to play another year, Arenas came out opposed to the idea on his podcast.

He said Carter should retire to make room for younger players to prove themselves in the league. 

At this rate, if Arenas uses next week's podcast space to argue that Zion Williamson should go back to Duke, no one should be surprised. 

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Wizards' Bradley Beal snubbed from All-NBA, doesn't qualify for supermax contract

Wizards' Bradley Beal snubbed from All-NBA, doesn't qualify for supermax contract

Despite setting statistical career-highs across the board and earning many votes from the media, Wizards guard Bradley Beal fell short of making All-NBA, the league announced on Thursday.

Beal, 25, put together a brilliant season despite his team's disappointing 32-50 record. He averaged 25.6 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three. 

But voting members of the media saw others as more worthy of the honor.

The six guards chosen for All-NBA over Bradley Beal were:
- Stephen Curry, Warriors
- James Harden, Rockets
- Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
- Kyrie Irving, Celtics
- Russell Westbrook, Thunder
- Kemba Walker, Hornets

Walker essentially got the final spot over Beal.

Beal was one of just six players this season to average at least 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. He was the only one of the six who did not make an All-NBA team.



This is bittersweet news for the Wizards. Though Beal earning All-NBA would be an accomplishment worth celebrating, him not making it saves them a good deal of money and probably some headaches as well.

Beal would have qualified for a designated veteran player extension, also known as a supermax contract. He would have been in line to earn roughly $194 million over four years in a contract starting with the 2021-22 season at 35 percent of the salary cap.

With John Wall already signed to a supermax contract, that would have put the Wizards in a precarious financial position. But now the Wizards will not have to worry about that problem, at least for now.

Beal could always make All-NBA next season and these questions would be revisited. Also, with two years left on his contract, next summer could get interesting as he will be one year away from free agency.

But Thursday's news is good for anyone hoping to see Beal continue playing in a Washington uniform. This certainly increases his chances of sticking around for at least one more year, though the team's new president - whenever they are hired - may have other ideas.

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