Thanks to a late three-pointer from point guard Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions!
Despite being down, 2-0 and 3-1, in the best-of-seven series against the reigning league champion Golden State Warriors, the Cavaliers fought their way to three straight wins, including a 93-89 championship-clinching win in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Sunday night.
It is the Cavaliers’ first-ever NBA Championship and the first major sports title for the city of Cleveland since the Browns took home the NFL Championship with an upset win over the Baltimore Colts in December of 1964.
By beating Golden State Sunday night, the Cavaliers became the first team to ever overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA Finals and win the championship.
Irving scored 26 points and pulled down six rebounds to go along with a blocked shot and steal in 43 minutes of play in the series-clinching win. Irving buried 10 of his 23 attempts from the field, including two of his five three-pointers, and all four of his free throws in the winning effort.
In addition to Irving, Cavaliers small forward LeBron James scored a team-leading 27 points, including a late free throw to ice the clinching win, handed out 10 assists, pulled down 11 rebounds, stole two passes and blocked three shots. Shooting guard J.R. Smith added 12 points in the win.
A pair of free throws from James with 4.4 seconds showing on the clock gave the Cavaliers a 23-22 lead over the Warriors after the first.
James led the way for the Cavaliers with six points on two-of-five shooting from the field and a pair of free throws. In addition to the scoring, James collected six rebounds on the defensive side of the floor and handed out three assists in just under 11 minutes of play.
Along with James, the Cavaliers got five points from Love, four each from Smith and Irving and a basket each from Thompson and Jefferson.
Despite picking up two fouls, Love pulled down seven rebounds, four of which were on the offensive glass, which helped the Cavaliers hold a 16-4 edge in points in the paint and a 7-2 advantage in second-chance scoring.
Outside of the 18 points scored by Green (seven), Curry (six) and Thompson (five), the Warriors got just four points from the other seven players who entered the game.
Although the Cavaliers enjoyed a slim lead, they made just nine of their first 21 looks at the basket and missed on all four of their three-pointers in the first quarter.
Other than Green, the Warriors made just 10 of their 35 shots and five of their 16 looks from three-point range in the first half, but behind his 22-point effort, they held a 49-42 lead over the Cavaliers at halftime of Game 7.
Green sunk eight of his 10 first-half shots, including all five of his looks from three-point range en route to leading the Warriors to the seven-point halftime advantage.
Conversely, the Cavaliers were just 16 of 42 from the field and only one of 14 from three-point range over the first 24 minutes of play. However, despite the three-point shooting issues, the Cavaliers dominated situational scoring, 28-12, in points in the paint, 11-4 in second-chance opportunities and 13-0 on the fast break.
Individually, James led the way for the Cavaliers with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots, but committed four of the team’s eight turnovers, which resulted in eight points for the Warriors.
Irving scored nine points, and then, the Cavaliers got six points from an unlikely source, reserve shooting guard Iman Shumpert, who was responsible for Cleveland’s only first-half three-pointer, which turned into a four-point play as he was fouled on the release of the ball.
Thanks to a turnaround hook shot from Andre Iguodala in the lane with 4.1 seconds on the clock, the Golden State Warriors took a 76-75 lead over the Cavaliers at the end of the third quarter of Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.
At one point in the quarter, the Cavaliers were down by as many as eight points when shooting guard Klay Thompson hit a fade-away jumper, but they stormed back with a 19-5 run, including 12 straight points, and took a 65-59 lead, but the Warriors had an answer.
Golden State closed out the final 4:33 of the third quarter with a 17-10 run of their own that Iguodala capped off with the late conversion for the lead.
The Cavaliers converted 11 of their 21 shots from the field in the third quarter, including three of their six looks from three-point range after knocking down just one of their 14 attempts from long distance during the first half of play.
Irving led the way with 12 points on four-of-eight shooting, and had a late three-point play that gave the Cavaliers a six-point advantage.