Irving's jumper lifts Cavs over Warriors 109-108

Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:21pm EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - As Kyrie Irving waded through a sea of reporters and made his way to his locker on Sunday, teammate LeBron James saw him coming and shook his head.

"He's special," James said.

Irving certainly seems to have a special gift: torturing the Golden State Warriors. His turnaround jumper with 3.4 seconds left over Klay Thompson gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a stunning 109-108 home victory in an NBA Finals rematch after Cleveland trailed by 14 earlier in the fourth quarter.

"He's just a killer on the court," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

Irving's jumper over Thompson was reminiscent of his dagger 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 7, when he completed the Cavs' rally from a 3-1 deficit and delivered Cleveland its first championship in 52 years. That was an off-balance 3-pointer over Steph Curry off his wrong foot and exhausted legs. This one was over Thompson's superior defense.

"I'm pretty sure Klay wanted to be on me and I'm pretty sure I wanted Klay to be on me as well," Irving said. "It was just a great play that ended up happening but it was toughly defended."

The Warriors led most of the game and extended their lead to 94-80 while James rested on the bench early in the fourth. But James' rim-rattling dunk with 1:43 left gave the Cavs a 105-103 lead -- their first since early in the first quarter -- and the Warriors managed just 13 points over the game's final nine minutes.

"We had a chance to put them away," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.

"We had several bad possessions in a row. We had too many turnovers. We had control of the game and we did not execute at all in the fourth quarter. It's a great tape to look at. It will be quite valuable for us to look at that tape because we know we let it slip away."   Continued...

Dec 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) takes a shot against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland defeats Golden State 109-108. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports