The Cleveland Cavaliers have done it! They are the 2016 NBA Champions with a 93-89 win over the Golden State Warriors. The Cavs have made history winning the 1st NBA Championship for Cleveland and a season full of history ends in misery for Golden State.
I won’t talk about the lead up to Game 7 and the momentum change in favour of the Cavs that were down 3-1 with the suspension of Draymond Green for Game 5 where there was a 41-a piece game by Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, but I will talk about Game 7, where it was ALL on the line.
The two teams went into the Game 7 NBA Final for the first time ever with the same aggregate score through the 7 game series. I haven’t watched such a great Finals game with everything on the line like that in a long time. The game had everyone on the edge of their seats and with that said, the better team that night won and earned it with great respect.
So what was the decisive play for the win with the game tied at 89-89 with a minute left to go in the game? NO, not the block by LeBron over Iguodala. No team scored for about 2 minutes. Balls were going in and out of that net and the ball may have been unlikely to go in for Iguodala anyway, whether he was blocked or not. It was Kyrie Irving’s huge clutch-winning 3-point shot over Steph Curry that did it and stayed there for the win AND the likely decision by Tyronn Lue in the time-out leading up to it to make Kyrie take the shot and not LeBron who went cold as usual in the 4th. Steve Kerr then failed by having Curry make repeated shot attempts with no buckets and no answers to the 3-pointer that Kyrie drilled. Curry had been cold for practically 3 quarters, 2-time back to back MVP or not, what made Kerr think that he was all of a sudden going to be the hero and close the deficit? They may have been better off with the visually competitive and lead scorer Draymond. Go break another clipboard Steve.
Kerr struggled to rotate his small line up without Bogut and did well, but should have given Barbosa more minutes. He has been stepping up and scoring consistently and someone from the bench needed to give that help and the Splash Brothers needed to help Draymond. At least Barnes was not a complete failure last night, but Livingston missed some of his ‘All Day, Everyday’ perimeter shots. He stayed in his lane though and did what he was supposed to do and could do for the night, including making his free throws. Festus Ezeli though, was in the starting lineup for the first time last night to aid in the ‘Go Big’ match up versus the Cavs but failed to drive crucial shots to the rim. He needed to be way more aggressive and has certainly been a disappointment as the 30th pick selected by Golden State in the draft over Draymond Green who we all know was the 35th pick.
So now, all LeBron James fans breathed a huge sigh of relief and probably cried with him for the Championship win. Firstly, Suga would like to congratulate LeBron on winning his well deserved MVP and for winning his 3rd ring, which probably carried as much weight as his first. It would have been a disaster for him to lose a 3rd straight final. He has cruised to the finals on the East side for 6 straight years. I said cruised, debatable or not, but in my opinion even though there are talented players on the East side, I can’t say any of them are a star player trade away from being a Championship team. The East side teams are losers and were hardly even worth watching until the semifinals of their Conference. ‘Dem need fi build’. Simple.
The pressure has been on LeBron since he graduated from High School and he has also suffered from the hype people and the media have put on him. He somehow got and accepted the name King James years before even his first ring (Kings wear rings) and said he didn’t have any worries because he is the best player in the world, then he lost his next final. So of course he is always up for criticism and had no choice but to save his name and totally take over this series. He scored a triple-double last night with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds and he was voted unanimous MVP. He is the 1st player in NBA history to lead all players in all 5 categories, that is, Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks and Steals for an ENTIRE Playoff series. He also joined the historic company of Michael Jordan, Bill Russell amd Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, being 1 of 4 players with 3 titles and 4 MVPs.
That’s great LeBron. Those were really great accomplishments, but I would just love for him to shut everyone up completely including myself and show up more in crucial 4th quarters. MJ didn’t go cold in final 4th quarters and have Pippin win the Championships for him. So the potential is there to be the greatest but it’s just always like he needs the NFL version of a Hail Mary such as a Ray Allen or Kyrie Irving to make that clutch 3-pointer winning shot for him. LeBron showed he wanted it more with that block, but it didn’t win the game. It always comes down to points and Kyrie scored them. Not 2 to even the score if Iguodala scored, but 3. Warriors also had the advantage in terms of possessions for the last few seconds of the game but kept missing.
According to Bleacher Report, LeBron scored the most points but Kyrie scored the critical 26 points of the game.
Let us not also forget that that Kyrie guarded Curry for the majority of the game and locked him down! Curry was forced to make passes, take hard shots and created turnovers.
Draymond Green carried the team last night. He scored 32 points with 15 rebounds and 9 assists but where were the Splash Brothers? Curry was not only locked down by Kyrie but when he got free he scored 17 points and was 6/19 from the field and 4/14 from the 3-point range, while Klay scored 14 points, was only 2/10 from 3-point range and 6/17 from the field. So it is clear they had opportunities but just weren’t scoring. It was the Warriors home court, they led the majority of the game, though by small margins and it was their game to lose.
A win for the Warriors would have made them debatably the greatest team, but the win for Cavs with the MVP performance of James didn’t make LeBron the greatest ever but definitely killed the controversy of him being one of the greatest ever. He elevated his teammates such as JR Smith and Tristan Thompson. I can’t say the same for Kevin Love who was a complete disaster. He was a huge disappointment for the Cavs but also placed in the wrong position on the court many times. Kyrie didn’t need to be elevated. He was already elevated after getting the opportunity to return and help his team reach the Finals after being put out last year’s finals after Game 1 with a knee injury.
Steph struggled to play both ends of the floor and whenever he had to play the role of a scoring point guard.
After the LeBron-Draymond incident and the fact that Klay said players talk trash all the time and it’s a Man’s League, that’s also what he needs to tell his teammate, Curry. Man up. His body language needs to improve as well. LeBron and the Cavs made him look like a rookie this series. Curry will have to go back to the drawing board to be considered as great and I think he has the determination to return after witnessing a tough 2nd round 4-2 loss to the San Antonia Spurs in 2013, a 4-3 1st round loss to the Clippers in 2014 and then his return in 2015 to become an NBA Champion.
LeBron may just be there again for his 7th straight final though. It’s very possible given the state of the East side at the moment. I think he still needs to win another ring and actually score the Championship winning shots, as his NBA Finals record is still a lopsided 3-4. 2 rings would be ideal in order to back up his stats and hype. Many great players with great stats have ended their careers without a ring because of other great teams and or players in their way but none of them called themself King.
With all that has been said and done, it was a well earned Championship for Cleveland and it was a team effort. Congrats Cavs!