The Cleveland Cavaliers made history last night as they became the first time ever to come from 3-1 down in the NBA Finals to go on and win the series and as a result, secured their first ever NBA Championship.
LeBron James capped off an unforgettable series with a triple-double to guide his home state to the title he had promised he would deliver with a 93-89 win. The 31-year-old was born a mere 20 minutes away from the Quicken Loans Arena where he can now hang a championship banner.
In the Oracle Arena last night, though, the Cavaliers inflicted a third straight defeat on the then-defending NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors. James had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists during game seven and recorded three memorable highlight blocks as well - one of which emphatically denied Stephen Curry again.
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King James picked up his third Finals MVP award by unanumous decision for his tremendous performances that literally dragged the Cavaliers back from the brink of elimination. The Akron, Ohio-born star averaged 29.7 points, 8.9 assists, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.3 blocks across the series to show what a phenomenal all-around basketball player he truly is.
If his two titles in Miami had lent some credence to the notion he is one of the greatest of all-time, this unlikely comeback firmly puts him in the conversation as one of the best ever.
He had some help in game seven too. Kevin Love chipped in with 14 rebounds against a tenacious Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving put up 26 points. Tristan Thompson continued his excellent Finals at the pivot by contributing two crucial blocks.
The game was secured when LeBron made one of two free throws after Green fouled him hard on a dunk attempt. That made it a two-possession game with just 10.6 seconds on the clock. Curry had missed a three-point shot just prior to James' attempted dunk and he came up empty on an effort immediately after as well.
The reigning MVP went 4-of-14 from three-point range as he failed to take over proceedings like his counterpart James. Curry could only put up 17 points, whereas his teammate Green would put a game-high 32 points on the board with a far more efficient 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
However, it wasn't enough in the face of a driven and determined James. Veteran Richard Jefferson described just how iconic a feat this was for LeBron and the state of Cleveland: "I've never seen a man in my life tell an entire state: `Get on my back, I got you. Get on my back and I'm going to carry you'.
'I don't care if we fail, I'm going to wake up the next morning and I'm going to start working out and prepare for the next year'... He was like, `I'm going to come back home because I promised them that I would do something.' And he carried us the whole way."
The Golden State Warriors have come up empty handed after producing a record 73 wins in the regular season and leading the Finals series 3-1 at one point. Their legacy and pride will be damaged, but chances are they will retain the vast majority of their team and come back even more determined next year.