It still hasn’t sunk in that the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions. Just the words, “World Champion Cavaliers” are enough to bring a tear to our collective eyes.
But it’s true. The 52 years of sports suffering are over. The city will have a parade Wednesday to celebrate our champions. Yep, the best team in basketball resides right here in Cleveland, Ohio.
The game itself was funny because there was no opportunity to celebrate early because of the closeness of the game.
The game was tied with just over a minute ago, then Kyrie Irving hit the shot heard ’round northeast Ohio, drilling a three over Stephen Curry to put the good guys in the lead with less than a minute to go.
The defense had to take control, and when the Warriors missed and the Cavs got the rebound, we thought maybe, just maybe, the wine and gold were going to pull this off.
And after LeBron split his free throws after his hellacious dunk attempt giving Cleveland a four point lead with ten seconds remaining and a foul to give? It was in the bag and we could start to celebrate as a city.
June 19, 2016 will be a date northeast Ohio will remember forever.
Now “The Shot” will have a different meaning here. It will refer to Irving’s huge three to give the Cavs the lead they would never relinquish.
“The Block” will mean James’ incredible chase down rejection of Andre Iguodala’s lay up attempt to keep the contest even. James said after the game that he had it covered no matter if Iguodala used his left or right hand to shoot.
“The Change” will refer to GM David Griffin’s gutsy and second guessed decision (even by us) to replace David Blatt with Tyronn Lue. Lue had the right voice to lead this team to a title.
We said at the time the move put a huge amount of pressure on Griffin and James, but they were up to the challenge.
We also feel good for Kevin Love, the whipping boy by media and fans alike whenever anything went wrong for this team. Love only scored 9 points, but grabbed 14 rebounds, had the highest +/- on the squad last night, and played remarkable defense on Curry, no less, forcing him into a bad shot down the stretch.
Love is a starter on championship team. Doesn’t that alone mean that he fits in with this squad? Shouldn’t that put to rest talk that the Cavs are looking to trade him?
The guy is an all-star who sacrificed his scoring because that’s what the team needed him to do. And he’s a decent defender. Yes, he has problems with quicker players when isolated, but so does everyone else.
He gets the last laugh though, because he’s getting a ring.
Lastly, what a performance by James. Does anyone doubt who the best player in the league and the world is now? Basketball isn’t all about shooting, and James contributes in every part of the game, that’s why he’s the premier player.
It is telling that Curry had more turnovers than assists in the series, and his ill-fated behind the back pass late in the fourth quarter was huge.
James fulfilled the promise made upon his return, and he showed to all doubters that he was a true leader. Once again, thank you for coming back to the Cavaliers.
The celebration will likely go on all summer, culminating with a banner being raised to the rafters on Opening Night, and the players getting their rings.
Moreover, these players will always, always, own a special place in the hearts of every fan in the area. They brought home a title and ended the so called curse.