LeBron, Cavs end Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought
The Cleveland Cavaliers were finally able to bring home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on Sunday night after 52 years of disappointment. In addition, the Cavs are the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit since. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving once again have combined for 40-plus points, giving the malnourished Cleveland fans the championship they’ve longed for.
“I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game … The man above will put you in situations where you can’t get out of,” NBA Finals MVP LeBron James said during a postgame interview.
On the opposite spectrum, the Golden State Warriors relinquished a Game 7 in home territory. Klay Thompson was the first to the locker room. It was a sour atmosphere in the Golden State locker room.
In the postgame press conference, the two-time MVP Stephen Curry said, “Win or lose, we appreciate the stage that we were on. It’s that back and forth that we live for. It stung. It sucked to watch them celebrating. At the end of the day, you congratulate them.”
However, Draymond Green showed up big for the Warriors with 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.
“He does everything for us,” said Steve Kerr, the Warriors head coach.
For the Warriors, they broke the best single-season record with 73 wins but suffered a travesty of a loss at home to surrender the title to Cleveland. This type of situation could make the regular-season record almost bittersweet. It almost seems miniscule at that.
“We had a phenomenal season, just couldn’t finish it off,” Kerr said.
Some would say Game 7 was a monumental moment in NBA history. Game 7 broke the record for network ratings on an NBA game for ABC. The Warriors had everything in place to win: home court advantage and the single-season record to uphold. They were up 3-1 and had three chances to close the series out.
“We’re stunned,” Kerr told Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated. “We thought we were going to win … This is why you can’t mess around … Game 5 was the turning point of the series.”
The Cavaliers also had a lot on the line: the championship drought in Cleveland, LeBron’s legacy and staff troubles throughout the season. In the end, Cleveland emerged victorious with a 93-89 win on the road.
Kerr once said that if he were to take anyone on the road to win, first would be James. James brought out his former 2009 form and dominated the lane and the game as he has before. The oh-so forgotten chase-down artist arose from the abyss and gave us not one, not two, but three monstrous chase-down blocks. There was one on Leonardo Barbosa, Andre Iguodala and even Stephen Curry.
As viewers and fans, we cannot undermine what Kyrie Irving brought as well. As LeBron’s running mate, Irving dropped 26 points and six rebounds with a player +/- rating of +10. The last shot on Curry was hands down one of the most captivating moments in Irving’s career —probably in finals history. It didn’t completely seal the game, but it darn well alleviated the stress for the Cavs. Following that, LeBron hit a free throw to push the game to a four-point lead that would seal the deal.
Overall, the series ended how we as fans wanted it to. It came down to that last step-back jumper by Irving. Tyron Lue told ESPN’s Doris Burke it was one of the greatest shots in NBA finals history.
For LeBron James, it was one of the best nights of his life. He was the second player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with two separate teams. He became the first player to lead the series in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. If that doesn’t scream greatness, I don’t know what does. Moreover, he became the third player to record a triple-double in a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. No other team has ever trailed in a finals series 3-1 and come back to win on the road. With all of these accolades accomplished in one night, add on the fact that his dream of bringing his city an NBA championship. There’s your icing on the cake — a great end to a great NBA season. Even if you aren’t a Cleveland or Golden State fan, you have to appreciate the performance from both of these organizations.