Oakland — The Shot, The drive, the fumble, the decision are all horrid memories that Cleveland fans would all like to forget.  Today is a new day that history will be added to the history books but “Believeland” loyalists are hoping to be on the positive side of the history books in today’s game 7 of the NBA Finals. Perhaps today will go down as, “the redemption.”

Today the Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Golden State Warriors in a winner takes all, Game 7. The best from the east meets the best from west for one final time this season. There are so many storylines heading into this game, as the game is projected to be a record-breaking viewed game. The game will feature the NBA’s most veteran superstar vs the league’s best emerging star. In Steph Curry you have the current back to back MVP squaring off against a 4x former MVP in LeBron James. You have the Land (Oakland) vs the Land (Cleveland). Will Golden State complete their historic 73-9 season with a Larry O’Brien trophy or will the Cleveland Cavaliers earn revenge on the Golden State Warriors, just one year removed from losing to them in last year’s finals? It’s Father’s day and the stage is grand. It simply doesn’t get any better than this for an NBA fan.

How we got to this moment was not textbook. Almost every game in the series have gone down in blow out fashion and after the Cavs fell into a 3-1 series hole, 99.9% of the world was just about ready to concede the title to the seemingly better Golden State Warrior team. LeBron James and company had something different in mind. In Game 5, LeBron and Kyrie Irving combined for 82 points to lead the Cavs to victory and in game 6, the squad tied the series after King James dropped another 41 points in back to back games.

Game 6 was a momentum shifter as, the Cavaliers played a focused game (115-101) for 48 minutes to strengthen their chances at becoming the first team in NBA finals history to come back and win the Finals after being down 3-1. Lebron James played great in Game 5 but like great players do; he one-upped himself by putting on a masterful performance (41 pts, 11 rbs, 8 asst, 4 stls & 3 blks) in front of a ear-shattering 20,562 at the Q in Cleveland, Ohio.

As much as we can point to what the Warriors did not do, just as many points can be made of what the Cavs did do. The injury to the Warriors, Andrew Bogut proved to be pivotal as the Cavs got into the paint with much more effectiveness than in games past. The Warriors came out of the gate missing shots that they’ve made all year and they even fell behind early by as many as 24 points in the first half. Eventually, they brought the game within single digits but could not string together enough stops and scores to ever fully overcome the deficit.

In Game 6, the tables turned and even mild-mannered superstar, Steph Curry lost his composure and launched his “famous prop” of a mouthpiece aimlessly into the crowd which led to a rare ejection. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue dug deep into the bench and got effective minutes out of seldom used players such as Dahntay Jones, and Mo Williams. 

The Cavs have looked like a confident team on a mission the last 2 games, as they’ve beat the Warriors in back to back games. If they want to make it 3 straight times they have to come out much like they did in games 5 and 6 and hit Golden State in the throats first. They have to continue to push the tempo in transition and attack the rim aggressively. A third guy has to step up and fill the x-factor position by contributing greatly. Kevin Love seems due up for a breakout game and JR Smith is always a few jump shots away from leaving a large impact on the game.

For the Warriors, the Splash Brothers have to play well and the defense has to make LeBron favor his jump shot instead of giving him the paint.

This game will be one for the ages and this moment is just as big, especially for the city of Cleveland. The opportunity to disrupt history in this moment would influence a feeling of redemption and celebration for many Clevelander’s. After a championship drought of 52 years, a win today would make all the heartache worthwhile while in contrast a loss can cause an even sadder depression.

Even if the Cavs fall short and they do lose, the Cleveland Cavaliers deserve credit for even placing themselves in this position. To push this series to a game 7 is an accomplishment but to get “the one” would be an unexplainable euphoria. 2016 NBA Finals and then there was ONE. Cleveland fans hope it is the best one.

Do you think Cleveland will make history tonight and become 2016 NBA Champions?

~Ray Wright

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