The series was weird. The pick was wrong. Game 7 was epic. And the pick for Game 7 was right. Yeah, this series was really weird.
Game 6 didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. The Warriors lacked effort and let LeBron James manhandle them again. This set up an exciting and conflicting Game 7. I had no idea who’d win until Sunday morning.
Good games usually fly by, and Game 7 did. I kept looking at the game clock thinking how fast the game was going by. Thats because it was smooth and fun to watch. Exactly what we expected and deserved as fans.
The back and forth was beautiful. Cleveland won because of a shot, which we will hit later, but a couple interesting adjustments kept the game close. There were moments when it felt like the Cavaliers were letting the game get out of hand.
First, Kevin Love woke up from his playoff coma, and delivered when it mattered most. I didn’t think it was smart to start him, but he showed early that I was wrong. The way he played, grabbing rebounds, posting up, reminded me of him in Minnesota. It looked like that Kevin Love again. His play didn’t win Cleveland the game, but it sure helped them stay in it. With Love playing that way, the original starting lineup works. It fits. Cleveland played a lot differently than they usually do last night. They kinda looked like Golden State. And thats because of the way Love played. Needless to say, its still very probable that Love is traded this Summer. I don’t trust him to play like that every game. Neither should the Cavaliers.
Tying into the play of the Cavaliers, they relentlessly attacked the rim. Thats how they scored their points. Yeah, Golden State was raining threes throughout the game, and there were times when Cleveland tried to counter (This is when they got themselves in trouble.). But I kept stressing on Twitter: If Cleveland attacks the rim, and scores at this rate, they can figure out the math problem at the end of the game. If they do that, it will still be close in crunch time. Wa-lah! Look at what happened.
I had a feeling it’d be an epic game as we got closer to tip off. I thought it’d go down to crunch time.
I guess the 89-89 knot for three minutes was exciting. I mean, it was tense, even more since shots weren’t going in. We all knew though, at some point, one had to fall. Kyrie Irving’s did.
This was the game-winner. That doesn’t go down, and who knows where the rest of the games goes.
As soon as it went down, I knew it was the game-winner. I shocked by how underwhelming ESPN’s announcers sounded about it. Then again, the shot occurred with 53 seconds left.
LeBron’s performance in last year’s Finals was unlike anything I had ever seen. But he alone just wasn’t enough. And that was okay. The title-winning Warriors were amazing.
But towards halftime of Game 7, I was worried about the game for the Cavaliers because of the reasons I displayed above. At that point, I was really concerned about whether LeBron (and his performance) and this surrounding cast was enough. If it wasn’t, then moves bigger than what we’re expecting this Summer were gonna happen.
The Cavaliers were down 3-1 because of LeBron being too passive with the ball. Game 5 and on, that changed. It turned out that LeBron playing this way, with help from Kyrie and Kevin Love, was enough. It was enough for the 3rd time, and this time in Cleveland.
I don’t like the term “deserving” when it comes to winning championships. But Cleveland has been through hell and back with its sports. They’ve waited the longest. And its so important that the King, someone as iconic as LeBron James is now, is the one that ended the drought. Thats why this is so special.
I’ll have a column later in the week on LeBron’s legacy, which has grown so much since the end of Game 7. I said with one more ring he’d enter top five conversation, because thats where the next best forward is, who also has three rings. His legacy has now entered the top five all-time, enough for a spot on the GOATS page. That column will be his induction onto the page.
As for the Warriors, its a disappointing end to the greatest regular season of all-time. You can’t deny the fact that they went 73-9. The “Doesn’t mean a thing without the ring” statement is dumb. No one won more games than them, and they have the unique and innovative factor to go along with it. Sure, the Finals loss is an asterisk when you’re comparing the best teams ever. But you can’t deny the record or disrespect them. They lost the series on a shot. And one of the greatest players ever beat them throughout it.
This weird series had an epic ending. None of the teams deserved it. We did.