Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lebron brings NBA Title to Cleveland after 52 years

In an astonishing series rally, the Cleveland Cavaliers fought back after an embarrassing performance in the initial games in the 2016 NBA Finals to stretch the battle up until Game 7, where they wrenched final victory from the formerly favoured defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, 93-89.

The Cavs have been hammered by the Warriors in the first two games of the series, which did set a record for the largest combined victory margin – at 48 points – through two games in NBA history, thanks to a home court advantage and an ensemble powerhouse of regulars and bench players on Golden State’s side. This was answered by Cleveland, led by the indomitable LeBron James, sweeping games 4 to 7, establishing their own record as the first NBA team in Finals history to become champion after a 3-1 series win deficit.

USA Today reports how an impressive performance by “KingJames – 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 shots blocked, and 2 steals – became the foundation for the Cavs overcoming the Warriors, winning their rematch of last year’s finals. Aside from receiving his third careers Finals MVP award, James by his own hand gave Cleveland something it had longed for since the year 1964 – a brand new professional sports championship title and the breaking of the city’s “sports curse”. That year, over half a century ago, the Cleveland Browns won the National Football League championship game, the last before the curse’s 159-season title drought.

It was a herculean task to turn a dire situation around for Cleveland, with certain elimination threatening had they lost Games 6 or 7. A lucky break came when Golden State’s formidable offensive lineup began to stumble in the middle of the series. Two Warriors, center Andrew Bogut and defensive player Andre Iguodala were sidelined by injuries and a third, Draymond Green, slapped with a one-game ban barring him from Game 6 when the Warriors’ best were needed most. With their dwindling might, Golden State’s remaining big names Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were powerless against a LeBron on a mission.

When Cavs guard Kyrie Irving sank a 4th quarter 3-pointer with 53 seconds left, it was all but over. James’s 10.6-second mark free throw became nothing more than a formality as the Oracle Arena’s Golden State crowd was devastated. Irving himself contributed 26 points for Cleveland. 

As the game clock hit zero, LeBron James became a mythical hero for his team and city. He had done what he had set out to do when he left the Miami Heat in 2014 after a 4-year stint to return to the “I’m home. I’m home"; James told USA Today. "This is what I came back for. I’m at a loss for words. This is unbelievable. It doesn’t feel real right now…“I understood what everybody in northeast Ohio had been through the last 50-plus years, and I’m happy to be a part of history. I can’t wait to get back home. I’m ready to get to you guys." 

James also said “We’ve been through so much adversity these last two years. I just knew what we were capable of even being down 3-1 vs. the greatest regular-season team ever, you know, 73-9. Everybody counted us out, and that’s when we strived the most.”

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