LeBron James posted a 39-point, 16-rebound, 11-assist triple-double on Sunday to help the Cleveland Cavaliers pull off an improbable 95-93 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Finals, evening the series at one game apiece.
SportsCenter added historical context to James' achievement:
ESPN Stats & Info went a little further to put James' triple-double in perspective on a night where he had only three turnovers:
Future NBA players Sam Dekker and Willie Cauley-Stein were among the many who praised James:
Without the help of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who's out for the NBA Finals with a fractured kneecap, James took matters into his own hands in pursuit of a third championship, like on this key three-pointer:
James didn't solely rely on his scoring prowess to steal one at Oracle, however.
In fact, he started to go cold as a shooter down the stretch, which was part of the reason Golden State came back late and forced the extra five-minute session.
Although James missed a left-handed layup to win it just before the buzzer in regulation, Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick brought up a fair point about the putback attempt that Tristan Thompson flubbed:
Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch weighed in on James' performance, hinting at the adversity that Irving's absence created:
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish noted how well the Warriors had played at home all season long, despite facing tremendous competition from the superior Western Conference:
Dick Vitale of ESPN fancies his chances on the hardwood with James on his side:
ESPN's Skip Bayless still had to go here:
Following the game, James gave credit to Matthew Dellavedova after the young Aussie grabbed a key rebound and sank two go-ahead free throws in overtime, per ESPN's official Twitter account:
CBS Sports' Seth Davis sought to credit James and the job general manager David Griffin did to adjust the roster on the fly during the regular season:
Indeed, if Griffin hadn't swung trades to land J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov, the Cavs wouldn't be in the NBA Finals. James had to be the leader, in tandem with coach David Blatt, to take all of the inexperienced players on a deep postseason run and make everything work, though.
Mozgov played extremely well en route to 17 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes, frequently benefiting from diving to the hoop, catching laser-like James passes and finishing inside, but he didn't play much in crunch time for the second straight game.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of James' performance went beyond the box score, as has been the case throughout the playoffs. Even when he missed the game-winner in regulation, the four-time MVP didn't waver, kept his teammates locked in and did what he had to do to put Cleveland in position to win.
LeBron talked about the big win on Bleacher Report's Uninterrupted:
Game 3 marks a merciful return home for the Cavs, who were in two epic battles on the road and should be proud of how they fought, especially after losing Irving and without All-Star Kevin Love altogether.
Stephen Curry's horrendous shooting game—he finished 5-of-23 overall and 2-of-15 from three-point range—helped Cleveland square up the NBA Finals. Though Cleveland's defense deserves credit, one has to figure Curry will respond forcefully.
The Cavs must be prepared to answer the Warriors' intensity in the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena if they hope to avoid giving up home-court advantage just one game after stealing it away. Given how dominant James has been through the first two games of these NBA Finals, expect him to lead the charge for Cleveland once more.