Monday, June 20, 2016

Cleveland Finally Wins a Title!

They did it!

At long last the championship drought in Cleveland is over.  Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first ever NBA title and the first pro sports championship in Cleveland in over 50 years. Cleveland fans suffered years of heartache with infamous playoff failures like The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, and The Blown Save as well as franchise demoralizing events like The Move and The Decision. But now the misery is over. To recap, here are some amazing stats on the series and the clinching game:

  • It was the first time in NBA history that a team that was down 3-1 came back to win the series.
  • Series MVP LeBron James was the first player in NBA history to lead all players in a series in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. 
  • Cleveland won back to back road games in Golden State, who had only lost twice at home in the regular season.
  • Going into Game 7, the two teams had each scored 610 points, and the game was tied with a minute left. 
  • Cleveland held the highest scoring team in the league to only 13 points in the 4th quarter and scoreless for the last 4:39 of the game.
  • The Warriors broke the record for the most wins during the regular season, but lost three straight for the first time in two seasons to lose the title. 
  • Steph Curry was the first ever unanimous NBA MVP during the regular season, but had the lowest scoring average and lowest FG% of any MVP in Finals history.  He had more turnovers than assists and only shot 26% on wide open shots. 

With Game 7 tied with two minutes left, three key plays by the Cavs' “Big 3” helped change Cleveland sports history forever.

The Block: After grabbing a defensive rebound, the Warriors were on a fast break to take the lead, but out of seemingly nowhere LeBron came from behind to block the layup and preserve the tie.  Watch it below in real time or read the step by step analysis:

The Shot: With the game still tied at 89 and a minute left, Kyrie Irving took Curry one on one and hit a 25 foot three pointer to give the Cavs a lead they would never relinquish. It was the biggest shot of his career and silenced the Golden State crowd.

The Defense: Immediately following Irving’s 3, the Warriors turned to the MVP to tie up the game. After setting several picks to get the matchup they wanted, Kevin Love was stuck covering Curry in an ISO position behind the 3 point line. Even though Love had been criticized for his defense, he held his ground for about 10 seconds, preventing Curry from getting the wide open shot he wanted to tie the game. Watch it below in real time or read another step by step analysis:

Cleveland's three biggest stars stepped up at the biggest time to seal the title for the Cavs.

Just last week I was in a debate about ranking your personal top five sports moments. After dozens of worst moments popped into my head, I struggled to come up with my top five moments. Now I have a clear #1 moment. This is such a pivotal event in my sport fanhood history that I have already bought tons of championship gear and will be headed back to Cleveland to celebrate in the long awaited victory parade.

Go Cavs! And Go Cleveland!