Featured Image by: AP Photo
By Ben Pfeifer
If you were born after December 27, 1964, today you have witnessed something you have never seen before. The Cavaliers are the first Cleveland sports franchise to win a title since the 1964 Browns.
First I’ll address the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had a hell of a season, and Warriors fans should not be discouraged. There is a very good chance that we will see this finals rematch next season.
Now on to the series. The Warriors were dominating the Cavs the first four ganes, leading 3-1, but the momentum switched after this.
The emotional leader of the Warriors Draymond Green was producing but had a very costly suspension. Green already had some controversial flagrant fouls these playoffs with two kicks to the groin on Thunder center Steven Adams in the Western Conference Finals. But when he did it yet again to LeBron James in Game 4 a one-game suspension was handed down.
Green had to sit out of Game 5 and have a viewing party at the neighboring Oakland Coliseum where the Athletics were holding a game and watch his Warriors loose 112-97. This loss may have ended up costing the Warriors back-to-back Finals victories.
To add to the Warriors woes, in Game 5 their center Andrew Bogut suffered multiple bone bruises in his left knee after blocking a J.R. Smith layup. This injury caused the Warriors to lose their key rim protector for the rest of the series.
Also, where was the unanimous MVP this series? Where did Steph Curry go? This is the second straight year that the MVP has disappeared in the Finals. Many have said he was injured, but that is simply not the case. It is just the Cavaliers defense: especially in games 5,6, and 7 where they shutdown Curry.
Curry’s frustration from all the bad offensive performances all exploded in Game 6, where Curry got ejected after his controversial sixth foul on LeBron James. With so much anger, Curry literally threw his mouthguard into the stands and ended up hitting Andrew Forbes. Andrew Forbes is son of Cavaliers minority owner Nate Forbes.
The Cavaliers showed tremendous hustle on the defensive end, especially from players who are usually criticized for their lack of effort on defense (Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and J.R. Smith). The Cavs held the highest scoring team in 24 years to a mere 99 points per game. Cleveland’s incredible defense on Curry are the main reason they won the Finals.
The best defensive player on the Cavaliers was Tristan Thompson. There is no other center in NBA Finals history who played such spectacular perimeter defense. Countless times he switched onto Curry and Thompson and shut them down. Thompson only averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds, but he outworked everyone else on the court. Thompson is proving that he is absolutely worth the 5 year 80 million dollar price tag.
Kyrie Irving was incredible and could not be stopped. He made countless plays that left me speechless, from incredible contested finishes to fall away jumpers. Kyrie Irving really embedded himself as an elite point guard, outplaying the unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry on both ends of the floor.
But the true reason the Cleveland Cavaliers won this series is because of LeBron James. Two years ago James said that he would bring a title to northeast Ohio, and he is a man of his word. This is the most incredible individual performance in NBA history from surely a top 5 player of all time. James is tied for 2nd in Finals history with 7 finals triple doubles, and the 3rd player to have a game 7 triple doubles in a Finals series along with Jerry West and James Worthy. LeBron James has dominated the game on offense and defense this entire series, and led the Cavs to the first ever 3-1 NBA Finals comeback.
Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors for an amazing 2016 season.