Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, center, dribbles between Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, left, and guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of Game 7 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
LeBron James scored 27 points and Kyrie Irving scored 26 as the Cleveland Cavaliers did the impossible, beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors, 93-89, in an epic Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19 in Oakland, Calif.
It was the first major sport championship won by a Cleveland-based team in more than 50 years.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, center, shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Anderson Varejao, bottom, and guard Shaun Livingston (34) during the second half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
There was going to be history made, however, regardless of what team won. If the Warriors won, it would cap off the greatest NBA season ever with a championship topping off a record-breaking 73-9 regular season record. If the Cavs won, they would have pulled the greatest Finals comeback ever, becoming the first team to win the NBA title after trailing, 3-1, in the series. The latter possibility would take the honors as Cleveland outlasted Golden State in easily the closest, most exciting game of the seven-game series.
Golden State led at halftime, 49-42, thanks to an amazing first half by Draymond Green; he had 21 points in the first half, outscoring all players from both teams. He went on to finish the game with 32 points on 11 of 15 shooting, along with 15 rebounds and nine assists.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, center, celebrates with teammates after Game 7 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 19, 2016. The Cavaliers won 93-89. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
But James and and Irving took over in the second half, scoring 30 points combined through the final two quarters to lead the Cavs to their third straight victory in the playoff series, capping off the amazing championship comeback feat.
James had a triple-double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists to go along with his 27 points; he was named the Finals MVP, the third time he received the honor in his career. He’s now three of seven in NBA championship appearances.
Two-time regular season MVP Steph Curry, who struggled most of the Finals, had 17 points on six of 19 shooting. His backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, had just 14 points on six of 17 shooting.