Sports

The king delivers

LeBron caps historic series with another stunning performance to land Cleveland an NBA crown

FINALS, GAME SEVEN

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 89

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 93

  • Cavaliers win best-of-seven series 4-3

LeBron James wept while Cleveland cheered.

The prodigal son who left for Miami in 2010 to win two NBA titles, then returned home in 2014 vowing to end a major sport title drought that had haunted Cleveland since 1964, delivered on his promise when the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in the decisive seventh game of the NBA Finals yesterday morning (Singapore time).

In what may ultimately prove to be the greatest achievement of an already storied career, James, the best player of his generation, led Cleveland from the brink of defeat to the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," James said. "I dreamed about it, envisioned it and to see it come true is just plain beautiful."

"King" James completed a virtuoso performance by scoring 27 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and passing off 11 assists to power Cleveland over Golden State in the decisive game.

"I watched the Beethoven of right now, LeBron James, compose a game," Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving said. "He had a freaking triple-double in Game Seven of an NBA Finals. We're champions and our whole team are etched in history."

James dropped to his knees and cried on the court, wept as he kissed the Larry O'Brien trophy and spoke about years of frustration since Jim Brown led the Cleveland Browns to a 27-0 victory over the Baltimore Colts for the 1964 NFL crown.

"Those emotions came out of me, just understanding what our city has been through over the last 50-plus years since Jim Brown," James said.

"Then also people just counting me out. Throughout my 13-year career, I've done nothing but be true to the game, put my heart, my blood, sweat, tears into the game, and people still want to doubt what I'm capable of doing.

VINDICATION

"So that was a little icing on the cake for myself to just let me know that everything I've done, it results in this. Hard work pays off and that's what happened."

The win gave James his third NBA championship.

In each of the 32 previous instances, the team facing a 3-1 deficit had lost the Finals and only two forced a Game 7.

When the final buzzer sounded in Oakland, it kicked off a wave of celebrations in Cleveland, where countless Cavaliers supporters were sporting James' No. 23 jersey. It was a far cry from 2010 when James spurned his home state for Miami in an ill-advised television special that skewed his public image and saw fans burn his replica jerseys in the Cleveland streets.

While some did not forgive James when he announced two years ago that he was "coming home", his ability to deliver the city its first pro sports championship since the 1964 Browns of the National Football League may surely win them over.

James averaged 29.7 points per game, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in the series, and led the way with more than two steals and blocked shots a game as well, an unprecedented statistical domination that failed to capture the emotional impact of his pinpoint passes, high-leaping slam dunks and defensive determination.

He was the unanimous choice as the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, having also won the award when leading Miami to the NBA crown in 2012 and 2013.

The 31-year-old guard matched Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan as a three-time Finals MVP, with only six-time winner Michael Jordan having taken it more.

"Best player in the world makes big plays when we need them," Cleveland's Tristan Thompson said.

- Wire Services.

I don't know why the man above gives me the hardest road, but... the man above doesn’t put you in situations that you can’t handle. I just kept that same positive attitude. Instead of saying why me, I said this is what He wants me to do. And, uh, Cleveland — this is for you!

— LeBron James

JAMES' NUMBERS

3

Tallied 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 7, the third Game 7 triple-double in NBA history.

29.7

His average in the Finals: 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks.

NBAlebron jamesCleveland CavaliersGOLDEN STATE WARRIORS