Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89. Not quite believing it, I continued repeating the score, again and again. But it was a lot closer. With about a minute to go, the game tied at 89, Kyrie Irving made a 3-pointer over the head of Stephen Curry. With their next possession, LeBron James drove for the basket only to be fouled. James fell hard … on the hardwood floor … and on his right wrist.
As James lay writhing in pain with his teammates standing over him, I couldn't help but think, Oh no. Here we go again. My memory drifted back to The Fumble, The Drive, Red Right 88, Jose Mesa and all the others blamed on a curse and used for excuses in Cleveland's title quest over the past half century.
James stood, walked it off and approached the foul line. Having two shots, he could seal the victory with 10.6 seconds left. He misses the first. I kid you not, my twice mended heart paused, then skipped three beats. And I almost felt my pacemaker kick in. Then James made the second shot and the ol' ticker calmed down.
Golden State's ball. They drive to the basket and reach the top of the key before losing the ball. With less than three seconds left, they inbound. One shot. It misses. The second shot misses, too. It's over. The Cavs are World Champions and now the heart is beating like a crazed drummer.
Bedlam broke loose at Cleveland's Q. Emotions, pent up for decades, ran rampant. At Oakland's Oracle Arena, James fell to the floor, emotionally spent, weeping, crying the good tears … tears of joy.
"I gave it everything that I had. I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game," James said between gulps of breath.
In Cleveland, thousands upon thousands emptied into the streets, honking horns, yelling, hugging and kissing strangers, singing, holding hands, celebrating and yes, weeping, too. Dead set on relishing this most redeeming sports moment, they let it all hang out, and who can blame them?
After being down three games to one, James and Irving scored 41 points each in the fifth game. Against all odds, James repeated his feat for Game 6, leading his beloved Cavaliers to a deciding seventh game in California.
With his a triple double - 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists - James was unanimously voted the Finals' Most Valuable Player and awarded a trophy. He was the leader, the one others looked to when the going got rough. He was the one they followed.
James put everything he had into the playoffs and even more into the last three games of the Finals. It's no wonder he was spent when the red lights flashed, announcing the game's end. After performing such a super human effort, the man rightly deserved a long rest; both physically and mentally.
As many of you know from reading the "Outtakes" columns over the past 17 years, I am a dyed in the wool, hard nose, Cleveland sports fan. Being a loyal fan of Cleveland's Cavs, Indians and Browns, I too have suffered. And so my mind started wondering once again.
With the Tribe now in first place, can they make the playoffs. Imagine if they do, and then suddenly beat all other baseball teams and emerged as World Champions.
And then the Browns? They may not be as bad as what pundits are saying. Perhaps some of LeBron's positive thinking will rub off and they, too, will make the playoffs for the Super Bowl. And then, come the first week of February, they'll be pla …
Whoa! Hold on. I may have been hallucinating. I'd better not go any further, lest I jinx them.
WOW! What a Father's Day gift! With the Tribe and Browns, maybe I'll wait. But with the Cavs, I'll continue as far as I want. Can you spell DYNASTY?
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