The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden States Warriors in a decisive Game 7 of the NBA championship Sunday, completing an improbable comeback in Oakland after trailing the series at one time three games to one.
With the 93-89 win, the Cavaliers became the first squad in NBA history to rally from that deficit in the NBA Finals to win the title. It also allowed Cleveland's star LeBron James to keep his promise of bringing a basketball title to the city after returning from the Miami Heat two years ago.
"I'm true to the game, and I know what I bring to the table," James said after the championship, per USA Today
. "I came back for a reason. I came back to bring a championship to our city. I knew what I was capable of doing. I knew what I learned in the last couple years that I was gone, and when I came back, I knew I had the right ingredients and the right blueprint to help this franchise get back to a place that we've never been. That's what it was all about."
Cleveland, which will host the Republican National Convention next month, now celebrates its first professional sports championship in 52 years, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
. The last time the Cleveland fans got a chance to celebrate a title was when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship in 1964, before the Super Bowl era, noted the Plain Dealer.
James scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 11 assists to grab series MVP honors. Cavs guard Kyrie Irving, scored 26 points, including what turned out to be the game-winning three-point shot with 53 seconds left in the game. James added a free throw to make it a two-possession game with 10 seconds left.
The odds, though, were against Cleveland from the start of the series, facing the defending NBA champions on their home court at Oracle Arena. The Cavaliers lost to the same Golden State team in the NBA Finals 4-2 a year ago. The Warriors this season went on to win more regular season games, 73, than any other team in league history.
When Golden State beat Cleveland on the road it Game 4 of the series 108-97, it meant the Cavaliers would have the beat the Warriors twice at Oracle Arena in the final three games, where they had only loss two times the entire regular season. The Cavs, though, won the final three games of the series to nab the title.
"The people of Cleveland deserve this more than any other people I've ever seen or met or felt," Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said, per CNN
. "No group deserves this more. No fan base deserves this more. I'm speechless and proud of everybody."
The series victory could also bury James's acrimonious departure from the Cavaliers in 2010 when he signed the Miami Heat, wrote CNN, leading some fans to burning his jersey in public. James led the Heat to four straight NBA finals, including two titles, before returning to Cleveland in 2014.
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