LeBron James digs the Cleveland Cavaliers out of a 3-1 hole to defeat the defending champion Golden State Warriors on the road in game 7.
King James, scrutinized for only winning two titles in six Finals’ appearances, has earned his 3rd championship in underdog fashion. Oh, and unlike some other MVPs (cough, Steph), he won the Finals MVP in all 3 title runs. We’re talking about the best player in the basketball world for the past decade. A polarizing figure that gone from hometown hero, to championship villain, to hometown champion. As you may know, this snaps a 52-year drought for the state of Ohio, dating back to the Cleveland Browns winning it all.
The Cleveland Cavaliers fell short a year ago at the hands of the Warriors. This time around, they get sweet, sweet revenge against a historic 73-9 Warriors team. James could have, and should have if you ask me, won the Finals’ MVP award in last year’s losing effort by leading all players in the major stat categories. James, again, posted the best numbers in the major stat categories, including a pair of 41-point performances with his back against the wall while facing elimination.
If you follow the Association, this NBA postseason, or at the very least this championship series, you are probably up-to-date on who the key role players and unsung heroes were in this exciting series. Featuring a pair of Most Valuable Players, James and Steph Curry, who broke his own historic 3-point record by scorching the league for over 400 makes this year. From the guys that do the dirty work like Tristan Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and the injured Andrew Bogut; to the star players that needed to takeover on both ends of the court, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson; this series really brought out the emotion from both teams and we witnessed a fantastic matchup.
Draymond Green, known for doing a little bit of everything, just could not miss a 3-pointer in game 7. He also used that to his advantage to get to the basket for easy layups, finishing with a game-high 32 points. Unfortunately, his Splash Brothers teammates combined to shoot 12-36, finishing with 31 points. They were still in the game on the final possessions, but looking at how Green outscored the duo of Curry and Klay Thompson, I guess they shouldn’t have won this game. That’s a testament to the Cavs’ defense, but also to the Warriors, who basically shut down everyone else but James and Irving throughout the series. This is a clear example of “defense wins championships.”
I really was rooting for James, the hometown story, bringing a title back to the “Land.” I’m an avid basketball follower, analyst, and fan, but I could never get behind the argument that one player should be perfect in the Finals. I’ve been impressed with his consistency since his high school games were televised on ESPN back in the day. We all know that he was outmatched in his first Finals’ appearance with the Cavs in 2007. The King rose, reigned supreme over the eastern conference, then elected to join the Miami Heat to form a big 3. That’s when James became a villain, winning a pair of titles out of 4 opportunities. As far as being the favorite, the underdog Dallas Mavericks got the best of the Heat and I do not use their first season together as an excuse. It was obviously a learning lesson for them en route to winning back-to-back championships. They dropped the last matchup to the San Antonio Spurs, a team seeking revenge from the previous year. This is what you’ve been following as a basketball fan.
Just like King James went off, allow me to do so:
I just thought that fans and analysts went way overboard on the all-time great and future Hall of Famer. At least the guy is making it to the Finals, unlike other all-stars like Chris Paul (elite point guard), Carmelo Anthony (elite scorer), and the two studs over in OKC have only paved their way to one (Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook). One in which they lost to James. After 7 appearances and a trio of titles later, the nightly triple-double threat wins in a place that doesn’t really know what winning is. He beats a team with: the best record of all-time, the first unanimous MVP, a pair of the best shooters to ever play (Curry/Thompson), a Coach of the Year (Steve Kerr), a coach that just got hired by the great Lakers’ franchise (Luke Walton), an all-star turned 6th Man of the Year and last year’s Finals MVP (Iguodala), with a trio of All-NBA Team players (Curry/Thompson/Green), and a former number one overall pick (Bogut). You can’t say that Kevin Love played up to his capabilities, and only Irving brought his A-game as far as offensive firepower is concerned. King James simply earned the crown. He also delivered a trophy to the “Land.”