The city of Cleveland, after a 52-year drought, can finally celebrate a championship. LeBron James, with the help of Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Cavaliers, delivered on his promise to bring a championship to Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to bring home the ship.
A week and some change ago, nobody gave this Cleveland team a shot of erasing a 3-1 series deficit. The main reason was that no other team in NBA history was able to pull it off. There were 32 previous teams who tried, but all fell short. The Warriors hadn’t lost three-straight games all season until the NBA Finals.
James was named Finals MVP for the third time in his career and did so in convincing fashion. He led both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. No other player has done that in a postseason series, let alone the NBA Finals. In the epic Game 7, he led the way with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, three blocks and two steals. He had a late-game block on Andre Iguodala, where he pinned a layup attempt against the backboard with the game tied at 89. His triple-double is the third in NBA Finals Game 7 history.
The King finally was able to deliver on his promise to his city. He was masterful as well as hell bent on winning one for the “Land.” He put not just the team, but the city as well on his back and was vengeful in finally bringing a championship to Cleveland. He already had two championships before last night, but this is the one everyone will talk about in regards to being the defining moment of his legacy. Speaking of his legacy and where he ranks all-time, let the man’s career play out before depicting where he belongs in the ranks of history. All top-5 and top-10 lists are subjective with no real right or wrong answer. He still has plenty of years left to continue to add to his already brilliant legacy.
Kyrie Irving had his coming out party in these NBA Finals. Sure, he was a really good player before the Finals began, but he cemented himself in the upper echelon of NBA point guards. In Game 7, Irving hit the biggest shot of the game and his career. With 53 seconds left in the game, all tied up at 89-89, Irving drilled a step-back three-pointer over the outstretched arm of Steph Curry. Golden State lives and dies by the three, and Irving killed them with a three of his own.
He finished the game with points and six rebounds while shooting 10-23 from the floor and 2-5 from beyond the arc. His second three of the game proved to be the dagger in the Warriors season. He could have easily been named Finals MVP, but you can’t go wrong with James winning it. Irving averaged 27 points per game and 3.9 rebounds and assists during the Finals, including a 41-point game performance in a do-or-die Game 5 in Cleveland. He averaged 31 points per game over the last four games of the series.
Irving was able to take advantage of being guarded by Curry on numerous occasions. The universal opinion is that Curry is the best point guard in the MVP, but Irving had the intentions of proving every single person who thought that to be completely wrong, at least for this series. He was sensational throughout the postseason and even more so in the Finals.
Last season, Irving left the end of Game 1 with a fractured knee cap in Oracle Arena, and over a year later, he got his retribution and made the most of his first full Finals.
Regardless of who was named MVP and who wasn’t, both James and Irving were both pivotal pieces in the Cavaliers championship win. They were able to figure it out and erase the near-impossible 3-1 deficit. Maybe they should have been named co-MVP, but in the end, neither one of them cares because they won the ultimate prize together.
The other member of the Cavs big three, Kevin Love, had an up and down Finals. He got a concussion early in the series, saw his minutes diminish and had to hear about how if they didn’t win the title, it would somehow be his fault. No matter what happened before Game 7, Love played his role perfectly. He scored only nine points, but grabbed 14 rebounds. Now whether he is a member of this team next year is to be determined, but for now, he can chug all the beers he wants in his Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt.
Tristan Thompson played big-time in the Finals as he averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds per game. He was a monster on the boards throughout the series. He showed why he got the big-time money he did in the offseason.
Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue deserves a huge amount of credit for the Cavs winning the championship. In January, Lue took over for David Blatt, who was fired despite leading the Cavs to the Finals a season and a 30-11 record. Lue took over and the team went 27-14 for the remaining regular season games. He started his postseason career as a coach 10-0, surpassing Hall of Fame head coach Pat Riley’s 9-0 mark. He is the third coach in NBA history to win a championship after taking over a team mid-season. He guided this team to the first Game 7 win on the road, something that hadn’t been done since 1978.
Lue made all the right adjustments from game-to-game, even when his team was facing an insurmountable 3-1 deficit. He plugged in Channing Frye at various moments of the postseason which proved to be a good move. He started Richard Jefferson with confidence when Love missed a game with a concussion. He was able to push the right buttons of Love to get what he could out of him, especially in Game 7. James wanted Lue as a coach and it payed off in the richest way possible.
Now that the Finals are over and James finally brought a championship to Cleveland, the question is now what’s next for LeBron James? He has a plethora of options to think over. He could decide to stay in Cleveland and continue to chase championships with Kyrie Irving, who is only 24-years old. He could take his talents back down to South Beach. He could take his talents to the West Coast and become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what he does going forward as he fulfilled a promise he made to an entire city. He can play wherever he pleases and nobody should question him going forward.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions.