BASKETBALL: Cleveland fans have partied long into the night after prodigal son LeBron James helped break a 52-year professional sporting title drought for the city against all odds.
The Cavaliers pulled off a stunning 93-89 win in game seven of the finals – the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the championship-deciding series.
And they did it in Oakland in front of a rocking pro-Warriors crowd and against a team featuring superstars Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
But James – the finals MVP – lived up to his billing as the best player in the world with yet another brilliant performance, becoming just the third man to register a triple-double in game seven of the finals.
He finished with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.
“Cleveland, this is for you,” a tearful and emotional James yelled in his post-game interview.
Australian-born Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and picked up six rebounds to cap his brilliant finals, including a three-pointer over Curry with 53 seconds left.
The Warriors’ star guard and league MVP was far from his best in this game as he was for a majority of the finals, scoring a below-average 17 points, as well as some uncharacteristic errors in the dying moments.
Meanwhile, James pulled off one of the best and most memorable clutch blocks in NBA history with a monster rejection on Andre Iguodala when the scores were locked at 89-89 with one minute and 50 seconds left.
A pensive Curry seemed mentally frazzled in the dying stages, but did mention a knee injury kept him from reaching his best in his post-game press conference.
“Just knowing what our city has been through over the past 50-odd years ... our fans they ride or die and continue to support us,” said James, an Ohio native.
“Our fans deserve this. I came back home (from Miami) to bring a championship to our city.
“This is going to be Cleveland’s biggest party it’s ever seen.”
Aussie guard Matthew Dellavedova did not get any game time for the Cavs but was delighted to receive his first championship ring.
The last time a Cleveland team won a professional sports title was the Cleveland Browns, who took out the NFL championship in 1964.
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