WON FOR THE LAND
KENNETH D. MILLER, Executive Editor Cleveland Call and Post | 6/27/2016, 2:07 p.m.
The most improbable comeback in the history of the NBA took two weeks, The Block took about 10 seconds and the shot took about 23 seconds, and finally the 52-year draught for Cleveland was over.
If only the journey for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first NBA championship was that simple, but one could say that it took divine intervention for the Cavs to erase a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals.
More than likely, the power from the highest order fueled the greatest performance in an NBA Finals Game 7 ever for LeBron James to will the Cavs past the Golden State Warriors 93-89 on June 19 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
We all know how it happened and that it DID happen, but no one saw this coming.
It was the most unlikely scenario ever played out in team sports, but one that will be celebrated for another century in Northeast Ohio.
It all started when the Cavs dropped a critical Game 4 at home in Quicken Loans Arena after losing the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter. Then, two days later, Warriors star Draymond Green was suspended for a groin kick against James. The Warriors held a commanding 3-1 lead going into game 5 at home where they had lost only two games all season. Then to spice things up, James was being shamed on social media by Warriors players Klay Thompson and Mareese Speights. Things got ugly.
The Cavs changed from their blue uniforms to black. Fueled by James’ 41 points and Kyrie Irving’s 41 points, the Cavs pulled out a desperate 112-97 victory.
So-called experts and pundits forecast that for sure the Warriors would win the title on the Cavs home court in game 6 as they did the year before; and most certainly there would not be another 41-point performance. That would be crazy!
James would say later that they had to go home anyway.
For sure they did and magically, James scored another 41 points carrying the Cavs, 52-years of misery and generations of broken hearts on his back leading the Cavs to 115-101 victory to force game 7.
If James looked tired during Game 7 it’s because he was. He could not sleep the night before. The Warriors had only lost two games in a row twice all year and never three consecutive. After all, there hadn’t been a game decided by fewer than 14 points in the series.
Secretly, the Cavs had put together a puzzle with only one missing piece remaining. That piece, The State of Ohio.
Reserve James Jones had come up with the idea, binding the band of brothers for this one glorious ride, a wobbly, rugged ride.
Things that worked so flawlessly for the Cavs in the first three rounds, The Big 3 of James, Irving and Kevin Love did not flow in this series.
Love was hit in the back of the head by Harrison Barnes and suffered a concussion in a woeful game 4 and was out of game 5, replaced by the now retiring Richard Jefferson.