The Cavaliers won 115-101 on their home court on Thursday to level the NBA Finals 3-3, with the championship decider on Sunday at the Warriors’ Oracle Arena in Oakland.
LeBron James dominated the game for the Cavaliers with 41 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
“We are going against a great team and we can’t allow ourselves to make mistakes,” James said.
The Warriors missed the defensive presence of 213cm Australian centre Andrew Bogut, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Monday’s game five.
Cavaliers’ centre Tristan Thompson took advantage of Bogut’s absence early with nine rebounds and seven points in the first quarter to set the tone for the game, while the normally offensively potent Warriors were woeful.
At the end of the first quarter the Cavaliers led 31-11.
The Warriors’ 11 points was the lowest first quarter total by a team in the NBA Finals since 1955, when the shot clock was first introduced.
Steph Curry fouled out in the fourth quarter and was so furious he threw his mouthguard, hit a fan and was hit with a technical foul by the referee as a result.
The Warriors appeared to be heading for back-to-back championships after taking a 3-1 series lead, but the Cavaliers could be the first team in NBA history to come back from such a deficit to with the title.
Cleveland’s Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova appears to have fallen out of favour, with coach Tyronn Lue going with Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams as back-ups to Kyrie Irving.
Dellavedova only entered the game with two minutes left and the Cavaliers with a 21-point lead.
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