Just like the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the curse that has plagued the city of Cleveland, Ohio’s sports teams was not going to end without an exorcism. Before the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series over St. Louis to finally end the 86-year-old Curse of the Bambino, they had to comeback dramatically against their arch-nemesis the Yankees after being down 3-0. The Sox at long last expelled the demons that had for so long held them back, and they achieved baseball’s pinnacle.
So, it is very fitting that the Cleveland Cavaliers at long last won the NBA Championship in the way they did. After Game 4, LeBron, Kryie and company were staring a 3-1 deficit in the face at the hands of Stephen Curry and the Warriors, the very team that added to Cleveland’s anguish last season when they handed the Cavs a heartbreaking loss in the NBA Finals after a season with so much hope. Cleveland jumped right back up on the horse they had been knocked off of and returned to the Finals to face Golden State once again, the rematch that everyone wanted to see. But, I can’t imagine many people thought that the series was going to end in the fashion it did.
The Cavs rallied to force Game 7, becoming the first team since the 1966 LA Lakers to rally for a seventh game after being down 3-1. Heading into Game 7 all the momentum was with Cleveland and all the pressure was on Golden State, but still not many believed Cleveland could pull it off (we asked you our readers your predictions, 59% of 27 voters picked the Warriors).
Game 7 in a nutshell was a see-saw battle. The Warriors and Cavaliers traded the lead 20 times and were tied at 11 different points of the game, but the Warriors held a 49-42 lead at halftime. Was this historic comeback by Cleveland all for naught? The team’s big 3 refused to let that happen. The Cavaliers came back with a vengeance in the second half, holding the lethal Curry and the Warriors pointless for the game’s final 4:39. After a sensational block on Andre Iguodala by LeBron that may have saved the game for Cleveland, with 53.9 seconds left, Kyrie Irving dropped a 3-pointer to give the Cavs a 92-89 lead. James was fouled and made one free throw to keep Golden State out of reach. The clock ran down, and the Cavaliers stormed the court of Oracle Arena to celebrate its exorcism and victory. The suffering of Cleveland is over, and the Cavs are NBA Champions for the first time ever.
Regardless of what you think of LeBron James (named unanimous Finals MVP) or what side you were rooting for, I really think you have to tip your cap to the Cavaliers. Facing tons of adversity and being called choke artists by nearly everyone, the team took control of its fate and gave the city of Cleveland something to smile about for the first time in seemingly forever. No quote after the game was more poignant than when LeBron shouted “Cleveland, this is for you!” LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2014 with the promise of making the dreams of the city come true. He has made good on that promise.
Congratulations to the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland. You have more than earned it.