Beard: NBA champion Cavaliers has a ring to it
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the NBA champions.
It has a funny ring to it, and it’s a ring that the will take some getting used to, for the title-starved city of Cleveland — and for the NBA.
For a city that endured so many two-word disappointments from their pro teams — The Fumble, The Drive, The Shot, The Decision — they can now celebrate The Return, The Comeback and The Title.
Their 52-year championship futility is over.
It was an odd juxtaposition to see Cleveland fans celebrating in the streets after Sunday night’s Game 7 win over the Golden State Warriors, becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 Finals deficit. Six years ago, after LeBron James announced his decision to leave for the Miami Heat, angry fans yelled, vented and burned their jerseys in those streets.
Now, it’s a frown turned upside down and a city turned upside down, preparing for a championship parade on Wednesday through those same downtown streets.
Cleveland Cavaliers. Champions.
It still has a funny ring to it.
James claimed his third NBA title, adding to the two he won in his four years in Miami. He also added to his three Finals MVP awards, joining Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson as the only players to have won both at least three times.
James outdueled regular-season MVP Stephen Curry, who withered in the Finals — whether through injury or fatigue or just the inability to make 30-foot shots anymore. James, meanwhile, surged to a triple-double (27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists), becoming just the third player to do so in Game 7 of the Finals (Jerry West in 1969, James Worthy in 1988).
James led the Finals in scoring (29.7), rebounds (11.3), assists (8.9), steals (2.6) and blocks (2.3), the first player to complete that feat.
And don’t forget The Block on Andre Iguodala’s lay-up attempt that kept the game tied until Kyrie Irving’s go-ahead 3-pointer — a basket worthy of erasing Jordan’s contested jumper over Craig Ehlo as The Shot — with 53 seconds left that helped seal the win.
In the midst of the victory celebration, James shed tears, Irving shared hugs and Kevin Love exulted. Richard Jefferson, the 35-year-old spark plug who was one of the Cavs’ unsung heroes in the Finals, announced his retirement.
It’s everything Cleveland wanted, wrapped up with a tidy bow to help raise them out of the doldrums of more than five decades of despair and futility.
James fulfilled his promise to bring Cleveland a championship upon his return from Miami and the spat between him and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert upon his departure is forgotten — or at least forgiven.
Cleveland rolls. Cleveland rocks.
And Cleveland wins.
It does have a nice ring to it.