If there was a sense before the NBA Finals started that LeBron James needed to carry his Cleveland Cavaliers side to championship glory, that feeling is overwhelming now.
James scored 39 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, dished out 11 assists and played 50 minutes and 20 seconds of the 53 allowed in Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors, which the Cavs won 95-93 in overtime to square the series.
With Kyrie Irving joining Kevin Love as the second of Cleveland’s Big Three All-Star tripod to miss the remainder of the postseason through injury, James will need to take control of the Cavs offense for large chunks of the upcoming encounters.
Judging by his efforts at Golden State’s Oracle Arena on Sunday night, he is certainly up for the challenge.
The roar of emotion and emphatic spike of the ball at the final buzzer following the Game 2 win showed just what handing his hometown franchise a championship ring, the first the city would gain in any major sport, means to the former Miami Heat star.
While James went superhuman to secure the win, the Warriors’ own leader went missing. Steph Curry, the sharpshooting MVP, made just two of his 15 three-point attempts in the game, setting a record for the most missed three balls in NBA Finals history.
Despite Curry’s off night, the Warriors were able to push Cleveland to the very end, something it isn’t imagined the Cavs could do should James suffer with his shot so severely at any point during this series.
At 1-1 in the first-to-four battle, Ladbrokes continue to make the Warriors the strong favourites for the title at 4/9, with the Cavaliers, who head back to their Quicken Loans Arena for the next two outings, at 15/8.
Curry won’t be that bad again, he’s never been that bad before in 452 previous NBA games in his career. Even if he is, the Warriors remain the stronger, deeper unit. A Cavaliers comeback is still some way off.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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