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November 29, 2021

NBA Finals: Cavs Dominate Warriors To Force Game 7

By Tom Withers

CLEVELAND (AP) — From the edge of elimination to the brink of history.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have pushed the NBA Finals to their limit. Game 7 is necessary.

James scored 41 points, delivering another magnificent performance with no margin for error, Kyrie Irving added 23 and the Cavs sent the finals packing for California by beating the rattled Golden State Warriors 115-101 on Thursday night to even this unpredictable series and force a decisive finale.

Cleveland saved its season for the second time in four days and will head back to Oakland’s Oracle Arena for Sunday’s climactic game with a chance to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficitĀ in the NBA Finals, and give this title-starved city its first major sports championship since Dec. 27, 1964.

“One more game left,” James said. “I’ll play it anywhere.”

James added 11 assists, eight rebounds and again outplayed two-time MVP Stephen Curry, who fouled out and was ejected in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors never imagined being in this spot. The defending champions, who powered their way to a record 73 wins in the regular season, won the first two games by 48 combined points. But Curry and Co. have lost their touch, their poise and are in danger of seeing their historic season – and a second title – vanish.

Curry got tossed with 4:22 left after he was called for his sixth personal foul, cursed several times at an official and fired his mouthpiece into the front row, striking a fan. Curry finished with 30 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and Draymond Green, back from a one-game suspension, had 10 rebounds.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt the officiating was biased against Curry, who had never been tossed before.

“He gets six fouls called on him, three of them were absolutely ridiculous,” Kerr said. “As the MVP of the league, we’re talking about these touch fouls in the NBA Finals. I’m happy he threw his mouthpiece.”

Curry walked off the floor smiling before making the long walk to the locker room.

“I didn’t think I fouled either Kyrie or LeBron,” said Curry, recounting fouls No. 5 and 6. “It was obviously frustrating fouling out in the fourth quarter of a clinching game and not being out there with my teammates. So it got the best of me, but I’ll be all right for the next game.”

James is one win from cementing his legacy by ending Cleveland’s 52-year sports championship drought and winning his third title, the one the kid from Akron came home to win.

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