LeBron James capped off a spectacular NBA finals with a decisive performance in game 7 last night as the Cavaliers defeated Golden State 93-89. James would not be denied and lead both teams in every major statistical category, a first in the history of the league. James pretty much had to be the Finals MVP for his effort and will to win this championship. But the real MVP to me was Kyrie Irving.
Throughout the series, Irving played great defensively against Steph Curry and put up huge numbers in the final 3 games of the series. His brilliant play in game 5 matched LeBron’s effort and gave the Cavs a lethal second option. Irving pressured the Warriors defense with his quickness and aggressively pushed the ball at every opportunity. Curry simply could not apply the defensive pressure necessary to stop or even slow anything Irving wanted to do. Watching the slight Curry stand next to the much stronger and more physical Irving was striking.
The physicality of the Cavaliers took its toll the last three games on all of the Warriors. Lots of hands all over Klay Thompson in game 7 and the Warriors could not find their offensive rhythm in the second half. Draymond Green’s three-point shooting clinic in the first half kept it close. Absent that, the Warriors struggled to get the shots they were able to convert all year. Looking rushed and unsure, they closed the game in the 4th quarter with 9 consecutive missed shots and the two best shooters in the league, Thompson and Curry, finished a combined 12 of 36 from the floor.
With a little luck and cohesion, the Cavaliers have a chance coming out of the Eastern Conference to keep the city of Cleveland in championships for a few more seasons.