LeBron James keeps his promise as he delivers a title to Cleveland
The Cavaliers claimed the NBA Championship in the final game of the series04:00 Monday 20 June 2016, 4:00 20 Jun 2016
The NBA Finals came down to a decisive Game Seven in Oakland on Sunday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors went head to head.
While all the talk in the build up to the game focused on James and Curry, the biggest figures in the game, it was Draymond Green who was the star of the first half both defensively and offensively. His shooting looked effortless as he sank five three-pointers from five attempts, leading the way for his team who looked to be somewhat off their usual rhythm in that respect.
The Cavs struggled in particular when it came to hitting the basket from distance, with Iman Shumpert getting their only three-pointer of the half, and leaving them with a wasteful record of one from 14.
Kevin Love started the game in stronger fashion than he had the previous few contests; after a barnstorming first game of the series, his numbers dropped off a cliff, but he was aggressive in picking up rebounds and got back to the type of game that suits him best.
Meanwhile, Curry once again seemed to be closely watched by the referees, who called him for his third foul of the night shortly before the half-time break. Not wanting to risk another ejection and sensing a growing frustration from his star player, Steve Kerr decided to pull him out and move into the second half without him picking up a fourth and getting himself into a very difficult situation.
Image: Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, right, are separated by forward Draymond Green (23) and guard Iman Shumpert (4) during the first half of Game 7 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The home side kept their lead intact in a close game as they went in at the break 49-42 up and coming into the third the momentum shifted a number of times as the teams began to trade blows. Curry stepped up with some good defence to block what looked like an easy slam dunk for James, and followed that up with a huge three to get the crowd at the Oracle Arena on their feet.
Coach Tyronn Lue stepped in for the Cavs, calling a smart timeout and taking the sting out of the attack. It was then the turn of Kyrie Irving to impose his will on the game, dropping crossovers, sinking a couple of threes and showing an ability to finish with either hand, helping his team to regain the lead.
There was just one point in the difference as they headed into the final quarter, as Golden State held a 76-75 advantage over the visitors. While he had been solid throughout the game, a clutch set of free throws, followed by a big three started to see James take control of the series finale.
Defensively he had some spectacular moments, denying Iguodala with a massive block, and his overall strong performance saw him become only the third player in NBA history to get a triple-double in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He and Iriving combined were too much for the Warriors to handle, as they saw out the final quarter and claimed an 93-89 win, ending an incredible trophy drought in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
The emotion of that, coupled with the incredible achievement of becoming the first team in the history of the NBA to come back from 3-1 down in the finals was too much for James; as the final buzzer sounded he collapsed to the ground in tears. Unanimously voted the MVP of the Finals, as he accepted the award James reflected on overcoming the record-breaking Golden State Warriors team to make history, and perhaps summed up just what made the Cavalier's achievement such a special story. Asked why this win was different to the titles he won with Miami, he responded simply "I'm home. I'm home."
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