For the first time, the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA champions. The Cavs defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 to win the title. It’s the city’s first major sports championship since the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964.
“We made history tonight,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.
Led by hometown star LeBron James, who won MVP honors for the third time in his career, the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 game deficit and win the championship. James scored 27 points, collected 11 rebounds, delivered 11 assists, blocked three shots and had two steals.
He was ably assisted by Cavs guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 26 points including a three-pointer with 53 seconds left, giving Cleveland a 92-89 lead. Then with just 10.6 seconds left, James made a free throw to make it 93-89. As those final seconds counted down on the giant scoreboard to that winning moment at 10:57 p.m. ET, thunderous screams erupted from the thousands who thronged Oracle Arena.
Tears flowed freely among both fans and players, especially James, who two years ago promised to bring a title to his native Midwest state.
“I gave everything that I had. I brought my heart, my blood, my sweat, my tears to this game,” James said during his postgame interview. “Cleveland, this is for you!”
For the Warriors, Draymond Green collected 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, while Stephen Curry scored 17 points, missing a crucial three-pointer in the final minute that would have tied the game.
“It hurts, man,” Curry said of the loss.
Meantime, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver echoed the sentiments of many Cleveland fans: “The curse is over.”