Cleveland becomes first team to overcome 3-1 deficit to win NBA Championship

Posted at 8:42 PM, Jun 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-19 23:03:14-04

By Joshua Berlinger and Jill Martin


(CNN) — History has been made.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA finals, defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Sunday’s deciding Game 7.

This is the first major sports championship that a Cleveland team has won since 1964.

In perhaps the biggest game of his career, LeBron James had the game of his life. He scored 27 points, 11 rebounds and dished out 11 assists — his 16th triple double in the playoffs and seventh in an NBA finals.

“Cleveland, this is for you!” James, an Akron, Ohio, native, shouted in a post-game interview with ESPN.

Climbing out of a 3-1 hole

No team had ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals. In fact, only three teams out of 33 have forced an NBA Finals Game 7 after trailing 3-1. The other two teams are the 1951 New York Knicks (against the Rochester Royals) and the 1966 Los Angeles Lakers (against the Boston Celtics).

But the Cavaliers fought back, tying the series 3-3 after a 115-101 win at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Thursday night. LeBron James, the Akron, Ohio, native who returned to the Cavaliers with the goal of leading Cleveland to a championship, scored 41 points in each of the last two games. He is the first player with consecutive 40-point performances in the NBA Finals since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 2000.

Meanwhile, the Warriors looked rattled Thursday night. Stephen Curry, who has won the last two NBA regular-season MVP awards, fouled out in the fourth quarter Thursday night. Upset with the call, Curry threw his mouthpiece into the stands and was ejected. It was the first ejection of his career. On Friday, the NBA announced Curry was fined $25,000 for throwing the mouthpiece.

“It’s obviously frustrating fouling out in the fourth quarter of a clinching game and not being out there with my teammates,” Curry said following Game 6. “It got the best of me, but I’ll be all right for the next game.”

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