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LeBron James, Cavaliers won’t go down easy

The pronouncements were made. After losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals in overtime to the Golden State Warriors and star point guard Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the series with a broken left kneecap, the Cleveland Cavaliers were dead on arrival.

Then Game 2 happened. The Cavaliers showed up despite the prognostications of doom and gloom, and took the second game at ORACLE Arena in overtime. It has been a series of incredible performances by LeBron James, who walked away from the victory with a ridiculous stat line of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the first time in NBA history that the Finals began with consecutive overtime games, and it was only the fourth home loss for the Warriors this season.

James’ pressure performance was made even more amazing when you consider Golden State only had to stop one player. With Kevin Love (shoulder) and Irving out for the year, the best players left to James’ disposal include Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith. Somehow, someway, Cleveland escaped with the series tied at 1 and now heads back to the cozy confines of Quicken Loans Arena.

Despite having to shoulder the load, James made sure to praise his minions afterward, per ESPN.

“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-35 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.”

Ultimately, there is still plenty of work left to be done. Despite having home-court advantage now and the next two in their building, the Cavaliers are still decided underdogs. According to Vegas Insider, the Warriors are sitting at 20/37 to win the title, while Cleveland is 8/5.

Looking at the rosters, it is impossible not to favor Golden State. Steve Kerr’s team is led by league MVP Stephen Curry, All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson and a host of talented forwards in Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. It’s a collection that only has to beat one man and a band of regular mortals. Yet, somehow, one gets the feeling that James is one a mission. It almost seems that James is sensing the gravity of this moment, knowing that a ring here would be his capstone achievement.

On Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST, James and the Cavaliers will try to move one step closer to a most improbable championship. For Cleveland, it would be the first major pro sports title since 1964.

For James, it would be the crowning jewel in the King’s crown.

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