Update: The Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship on Sunday night by a score of 93-89 — breaking records in the process. LeBron James was named MVP of the finals, the third time he’s received that honor in the NBA championships. He scored 27 points in Game 7 and had 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
After James’ vacation in Miami (he played for the Miami Heat from 2010 to 2014), the great basketball player came back to the Cavaliers for one reason and one reason only: to bring the city of Cleveland a championship.
Trailing Michael Jordan in 500-point post-seasons by only two (Jordan had eight post-seasons with that many points; James has six), LeBron not only wanted to bring the Cavs their first-ever NBA title on Sunday night. He also wanted to bring the city its first-ever championship by a pro team since the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship Game in 1964.
He has now done that.
James is the only player on both teams who has played in any Game 7s prior to Sunday night — and he used that experience to excel for everyone who was relying on him. Leading the entire series in points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals, James — it is safe to say — had his eyes on this prize for years.
Although this was only the third time in NBA Finals history that players with multiple MVPs faced off against each other, James’ right-hand man, Kyrie Irving, still managed to average 27.3 points in the series. This was the most ever by a Lebron James teammate in the finals. Before Sunday night, home teams were 15-3 in game 7s, so James, Irving and the Cavs’ supporting cast gave it all to beat the odds and take home the championship.
[lz_bulleted_list title=”Cavs and Warriors: Statistics That Matter”]It was the first game in NBA history in which both teams were tied in total points, 610, going into Game 7.|Home teams were 15-3 in Game 7 of the finals before Sunday night; not since 1978 had a road team won Game 7.|No team had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in Game 7 until Sunday night.|James had 2 straight games of 40+ points and 10+ assists in the finals before Sunday. Jerry West is the only other player with a 40-point, 10-assist game in the finals (three times).|Curry was the 8th MVP to play Game 7 of the finals in a given season.|James was on pace for a finals season of 30+ points per game, 10+ rebounds per game and 8+ rebounds per game for the second year in a row, something no other player has ever done, even in the finals.[/lz_bulleted_list]
Now let’s talk about the Warriors.
Trying to stop King James and the Cavs from bringing their city its first victory was defending champ and MVP Steph Curry. After beating the previous three-point record (that he himself set) by over 100 three-pointers this season, Curry along with teammate Klay Thompson — who himself needs only three three-point shots to beat Curry’s previous finals record — aimed to rain over the Cavs’ big comeback and earn yet another trophy. The last away team to win a Game 7 was in 1978, and no team had ever come back in the finals from a 3-1 deficit (0-32) — so it seemed as if King James and his army would need a little luck to overcome Curry and his Warriors.
As far as Curry’s own army goes, Draymond Green, who was suspended in game 5 and also played a big part in an earlier dispute between the teams, was back out on his home court in Game 7 with vengeance in mind. He’s only the 7th player in NBA history to have 300 points, 200 rebounds, and 100 assists in a single post-season.
Various players on both teams have stepped up with huge numbers. With the total number of points scored by each team tied at 610 points each going into Game 7, it was the first time ever the teams’ points totals had been the same.
After tonight, those numbers were not equal. One team alone is returning home with the trophy — led by none other than LeBron James.
Grant Hevia contributed reporting to this article, which has been updated to reflect the Cavs’ win as champs.