The Cleveland Cavaliers captured their first NBA championship in franchise history Sunday with a thrilling 93-89 victory in Game 7 of the NBA Finals over the Golden State Warriors. Cleveland’s win capped off a series comeback in which the team won the series’ final three games after going down 3-1.
LeBron James was once again Cleveland’s best performer in Game 7, pumping in 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the winning effort. Despite falling on his wrist on a dunk attempt with 10 seconds left in the game, he made one of two free throws to give his team a four-point lead. Not surprisingly, he was unanimously selected as the Finals MVP.
The contest was close throughout, featuring 20 lead changes and 11 ties. Cleveland started to make its move in the third quarter, turning an eight-point deficit into a seven-point lead behind some excellent shot-making from Kyrie Irving (26 points) and J.R. Smith (12 points). Draymond Green (32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists) was amazing for the Warriors all game, though, and he kept his team competitive.
Fans will remember two specific plays late in the fourth quarter that helped give Cleveland a win: an epic chasedown block by LeBron James to save an easy two points by Andre Iguodala and a step-back three-pointer by Kyrie Irving with less than a minute remaining to break a tie game.
Golden State’s loss is especially disappointing considering the team worked hard to set the all-time single-season wins record of 73, then couldn’t finish the deal in the playoffs. Unanimous regular-season MVP Stephen Curry submitted a mediocre Finals performance, and had just 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting in Game 7.
The next big event to focus on for NBA fans is the annual draft, which will happen June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.