The Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA Champions!
The Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in game 7 of the NBA Finals, in Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. LeBron James lead his team to a victory with a triple double, scoring 27 points 11 rebounds and 11 assist. His teammate Kyrie Irving added 26 points, and J.R. Smith scored 12.
This marks the first time a team has been down 3-1 in an NBA Finals series, and went on to win the series.
“I’m coming home with what I said I was going to do,” he said, adding, “I can’t wait to get off that plane, hold that trophy up and see all our fans at the terminal.”
Warriors guard Klay Thompson made a pivotal layup to tie the score at 89-89 with 4 minutes and 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter. For the next 3 minutes and 86 seconds, neither team could make a field goal.
During that period James missed 3 shots including 2 jump shots and a layup. Kevin Love missed a hook shot with 2 minutes and 32 seconds left in the fourth, and Irving missed a jump shot with 1 minute and 55 seconds left.
Then Irving with 53 seconds remaining, buried a 3 point field goal through the netting. James hit another free throw later, as the Warriors failed to score another point.
“It was just about being resilient,” Irving said. “And coming in and taking care of business. One for the books, literally one for the books.”
The Cavs only played eight players, and those eight players outrebounded the Warriors 48-39, and made 40.2 percent of their field goals opposed to the 10 Warriors, who made 38.6.
“Everybody counted us out…and that’s when we strive the most,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “That’s definitely when I strive the most.”
“Once we get to a Game 7, I’ll take my chances versus anybody, versus any team,” James said. “You give me one game, you give me 48 minutes, I’ll take my chances.”
ALL TIME FAILURE
A lot of NBA fans see Cleveland Cavaliers first NBA Championship as the fulfillment of a promise. James an Ohio native, started his NBA career with the Cavs before departing to Miami, where he became a two time NBA champion. James then returned to Cleveland, promising to win one title for his hometown team.
James story (at least in my estimation) should be revered. James his been on a lifelong mission, to bring his city a championship. It doesn’t matter how it get done, as long as it does, and James and Cleveland should be happy about that.
However, Golden State provided Cleveland with plenty of opportunities.
The biggest came from Draymond Green. Green played an amazing game 7, scoring a game high 32 points with 15 rebounds and 9 assist.
One could argue there would be no need for a game 7, if Green hadn’t been suspended for game 5. Green’s punch to James’s groin prompted the NBA to issue him a flagrant one foul, and suspend him. Some people believe this is evidence to accuse the NBA of being rigged. Those people should also think about the discipline of Green.
Green had already been given privilege by the NBA, when they did not suspend him for kicking Steven Adams in the groin during the Western Conference Finals. The best quality Green possess is his pride, his pride is really the mechanism that drives him. It’s that same pride that prevents him from avoiding mistakes. In short he can never just let things go. He always has to push back and get even, and this time it cost his team a world championship.
Now there is plenty of blame to go around the Warriors franchise. Stephen Curry could not defend Kyrie Irving. He as well as Thompson could not replicate the scoring performances they had all season. The bench stop providing quality support, in terms of scoring and effective play. The injury to Andrew Bogut did not help things.
Steve Kerr and staff may have gotten outcoached, but if Green had not been suspended, it would be the Warriors celebrating the greatest season in NBA history. Now the Warriors have collapsed, and in the most epic way.
Green’s decision in an instance, threw away 73 NBA record wins, a unanimous NBA MVP, and the greatest head start to an NBA coaching career. Green for a moment chose his pride, over everything else, and his team could not make up for it.
Give credit to James on a 13 year journey that has culminated with the Cleveland Cavaliers first NBA title. Credit needs to also be given to the Warriors and Green, for handing the opportunity to them.