Few games in the history of regular season NBA basketball were as anticipated as this one, and it gave us everything we could have wanted. In their first meeting since June’s NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers erased a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Golden State Warriors, 109-108.
Back in June, with Game 7 tied at 89, facing the best regular season team of all-time and staring directly at half a century of sports heartache, the Cavs turned to 24-year-old Kyrie Irving. He took the shot. He made it. And the world as we know it changed forever.
This afternoon, down by one point with 13 seconds left, they turned to Irving once again. And again, he delivered.
After struggling for much of the day, Irving turned it on in the fourth quarter. He scored 12 points in the final period, including the two that put the Cavs over the top with three seconds left, to finish with 25 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and seven steals.
LeBron James was excellent for much of the game, especially in the third quarter, when he hit four three-pointers to keep the Cavs in the game. He finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds.
Kevin Love added 20 points and six boards.
The Warriors led for almost the entire game, including by 14 early in the fourth quarter. But the Cavs kept fighting to keep them within striking distance. They never folded, and in the end, they found a way to get it done.
Kevin Durant was sensational for Golden State, scoring 36 points on 23 shots and grabbing 15 boards. But he got his feet tied up with Richard Jefferson on the game’s final possession, and was unable to get a potential game-winning shot off.
Steph Curry was held to just 15 points and 2-of-7 shooting from three-point range.
The Cavs have a quick turnaround and play tomorrow in Detroit. They’ll meet the Warriors again in mid-January, though it is hard to imagine that game could match this one.