The Cavs Were Down 25 At Halftime And Won Because LeBron
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The Cavs Were Down 25 At Halftime And Won Because LeBron


The Cavaliers had a very bad start to their Thursday evening in Game 3 against the Pacers. It was one of those nights where you get ready to hang out with some friends, and you've got all these cool expectations, and then... oh god, someone dropped the entire case of beers, and... oh, no, something is ON FIRE WHY IS SOMETHING ON FIRE?!

Things devolved pretty quickly for the Cavs, as they fell behind the Pacers by double-digits after one quarter and by 20 points after 21 minutes.

By the end of the first half, Cleveland was trailing Indiana by 25 points, and things were looking extra glum. Like, historically glum:


And the Pacers actually finished with 74 points in the first half! They added two more just to be extra insulting!

By this point, I had given up on rooting for a comeback. The game had to be over, right? A 25-point lead was undoubtedly insurmountable. Like, there was just no way. I've watched LeBron do incredible things so many times, things I never thought he could ever do, but how could he will an underperforming Cavs team to out-score the Pacers by 26 points in 24 minutes, on the road?!


Well, he did it.

The comeback, admittedly, started slowly. After pulling within 15 points halfway through the third quarter, the Pacers proceeded to stretch things back out to 20 points with just 16 minutes left to play. Not exactly a great situation.

But the Cavs kept chipping away, complete with 13 points and four assists from their main man LeBron, who was scorching all night long. He finished the game with an eye-popping stat line: 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists.

But the stats didn't mean anything until the Cavaliers were back in the lead, because LeBron doesn't really care about numbers scored anymore, he just wants trophies. So as the Cavs got closer and closer, he kept powering through the Pacers' defense, and then with the game tied midway through the fourth quarter, LeBron did THIS:


LeBron scored seven more points and notched another assist after that dunk to keep the Pacers at bay, but nothing really mattered. Because when he destroyed that hoop, he destroyed all of Indiana. The city is now a flaming pile of sad basketball fans.

So sorry, Indiana.

... oh, what's that, you need more LeBron stats from the ridiculous night? Alright, we'll give you one more to tide you over until the Cavs play again and Playoff LeBron rears his head to scare the bejeezus out of every other team:

That's right. LeBron scored 41 points, and dished out 12 assists, three of which led to three-pointers. Which means LeBron impacted 73 of the Cavs' 119 points on Thursday night, which is absolutely nuts.

We've loved the MVP race all season long between James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but... did we forget how good LeBron is?

Thanks to Thursday night, we're not about to go forgetting any time soon.

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The Only Game 7 Viewing Guide You'll Need

Legacies are on the line Sunday night.

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Heads up: there's important basketball being played tonight. Like, very important basketball.

Game 7 of the NBA Finals tips off at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. The game pits the Cavs against the Warriors. Odds are good your social media timelines will be flooded with reactions, GIFs, and general #content about the game.

In preparation, here's a primer on what you may have missed, and what you have to look forward to.

Tell me about the sports part!
This has been the series to end all series, in terms of drama, but basketball-wise? Not all that competitive. Both teams have put up inspired stretches of basketball, but rarely have they matched up. No game has been decided by fewer than 14 points.

In Game 1, the Warriors won so handily that All-Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson didn't have to do hardly anything to win by 15 points. In Game 2, Golden State more than doubled that margin of victory, toppling the Cavs, 110-77.

It was getting bad, fast.

But LeBron wasn't going quietly into the night just like that. He scored 32 points, the Cavs won by 30 (!), and all of a sudden we had a series.

Kind of.

Game 4 swung back in favor of the Warriors, who won by 21 points to take a 3-1 lead. (Golden State has won three games in this series by an average of 19.6 points per game, which is not normal for a series heading to Game 7.)

BUT, HARK! WHAT GOES THERE? It appears to be... the LeBron-and-Kyrie revolution!

In Game 5, with Draymond Green suspended because of an interesting altercation with LeBron, the Cavs got 82 points from Kyrie and the King, lifting Cleveland to an 112-97 win and bringing the series back home.

Then, in Game 6, LeBron scored 41 more points -- with Draymond playing -- and Steph Curry was ejected late in the game for weaponizing oral hardware, and POOF! We have Game 7 on the horizon.

Internet highlights? We've got your internet highlights.
For starters, this dunk from LeBron in Game 5 set the internet ablaze.

As did this dunk in Game 6.

But the most enduring parts of this series' internet highlights have been the non-basketball topics.

Since the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about Curry's shoes getting roasted online, the Cavaliers have won two games by a combined 29 points and Curry has shot 39 percent from the field while earning his first ejection since 2013. Coincidence?

Meh, probably.

It probably *isn't* a coincidence that since Draymond Green, and then the rest of the Warriors -- and then Skip Bayless -- decided to take the casual sexist route against LeBron James in/after Game 5, he has played some of the most inspired basketball of his career.

In a career full of missteps, Bayless's decision to call James an historically demeaning term for a woman -- on top all of the tremendously obvious shortcomings of that decision, which deserve their own post -- simply added fuel to the fire burning inside a man, James, who has spent a decade proving Bayless's hot takes wrong with systematic efficiency.

LeBron's put on a damn show on the offensive end, as we've already talked about. But his defense has been equally impressive, and led to delightful internet fodder, like this chiding of Steph Curry after a particularly vicious block late in Game 6.

And, of course, Steph Curry's wife, Ayesha, decided the NBA was rigged -- for money! -- after the Warriors' superstar was ejected for throwing his mouthpiece into the crowd after fouling out.

So, yeah, a lot has happened on the internet.

What's left to be said?

With a second NBA Finals trophy, Steph Curry can both cement this two-season stretch as quite possibly the most dominant individual stretch since Michael Jordan's second three-peat with the Bulls. He has turned the league on its head, and two championships in two years would go a long way towards immortalizing this already sterling stretch of basketball.

Elsewhere, there's the storyline of team-versus-team. We've seen an already enticing rivalry take another step, turning into a tantalizing, towering two-team tussle. If the Cavs win, the two will be tied at one apiece. If the Warriors best Cleveland again, Golden State will inarguably be the greater of the two. So the legacy of this rivalry (for now) is effectively on the line.

In the end, though, this series has been about LeBron James, as is so often the case in this league.

He has dominated the stat sheet and dictated play, as shown above. He has rallied his team from a two-game deficit, forcing a Game 7 in the Finals after trailing 3-1 for the first time in decades.

And now, he has a chance to become the most beloved man in Cleveland since Jim Brown by winning the Cavaliers their first NBA championship. The circle can complete itself, LeBron transitioning from chosen one, to rued betrayer, to prodigal son returned, all the way to leader-in-excelsior.

One man's prediction? The Cavs pull off the comeback, and LeBron launches his bid for Mayor of Cleveland in the postgame locker room.

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LeBron James Did It

He brought Cleveland what they so desperately craved.

Forget 'The Decision.' Disregard Ray Allen's legacy-saving three-point shot. Toss out the two Finals MVPs James won in Miami.

Discard everything that happened in the career of LeBron James, up to Sunday, June 19th.

On February 18, 2002, Sports Illustrated called Lebron James "The Chosen One."

On Sunday, June 19th, 2016, LeBron James led the Cleveland cavaliers to their first NBA championship.


The Cavaliers led by one point after one quarter. The Warriors led by seven at halftime, and by one after three quarters.

Every time the Warriors started to pull away, the Cavaliers tossed a lasso to keep them within reach.

When the Warriors took an eight-point lead early in the third quarter, J.R. Smith rattled off a pair of three-pointers and Kyrie Irving slipped in a layup to tie the game at 54 points apiece.

After waiting six games for a close game, wire to wire, we finally had one.

When I realized there was going to be a seventh game on this Sunday, a day I had signed up to write about sports, I decided I would try my best to play the objective sports observer and give you the straight up facts and observations from tonight.

But as a LeBron James fan, and an associate Cavaliers fan, that is not possible.

I clapped all night long as LeBron made shots, missed shots, and turned the ball over a little more than I preferred.

I paced my girlfriend's backyard as they missed shots, and made shots, and did things I never believed they could do.

And when those final Warriors shots flew errant past the hoop, and LeBron James fell to the floor, I walked back past the basil plant and the fern in the ground and threw my hands up in exaltation.

LeBron has cemented his legacy in the annals of the National Basketball Association. He has asserted himself as one, at the absolute worst, five best players to ever play basketball, by scoring 109 points in the final three games of the most trying season of his career to win the first championship for his hometown.

This was a series full of players trying to define their respective legacies.

Stephen Curry wanted a second trophy, which would have made it hard to call this two-year stretch anything other than one of the best in history.

Kyrie Irving, who struggled in the first few games of the series and had to fend off criticisms of his game, was fighting for the respect allotted to a second-in-command.

And, of course, LeBron was attempting to push his way to one of the most dramatic championships in the history of professional American sports.

In the end, he did it.

He succeeded, in the face of everything.

And now, we have nothing to do but to cheer, pay our respects, and see what's next for one of the best basketball players the world has ever known.

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LeBron Should Ditch Cleveland

LeBron has to do what's best for LeBron.

When you do something no one thought could be done, you become a hero. And that's exactly what Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James is in Cleveland right now.

The Akron native faltered in his first two NBA finals with the team - one in his first tenure and again last year, when his team fell to the Golden State Warriors. But LeBron and the Cavs took the best of seven series from the Warriors in Game 7, giving the city of Cleveland their first major sports championship since 1964 - 52 years ago.

While he is a hero in the city no one thought could ever win, now might be the best time for him to move on.

Signed to a two-year deal worth $47 million last summer, LeBron's contract contains an opt-out clause for after the 2015-2016 season. He can opt out on July 1 and realistically, it would be dumb for him not to.

Even if he wants to play in Cleveland again, he should at least try to take more money from them. He has three NBA Championship rings and did Cleveland a huge favor by returning to the city and winning one for them. If anyone owes anyone anything, it would be the Cavs owing LeBron.

But knowing how LeBron can impact a game, other teams would be excited to know there's a chance they could sign him. The words Los Angeles (Lakers) and New York (Knicks) keep coming up. There's even talk of a potential return to the Miami Heat. As if Cleveland fans didn't burn enough of his jerseys the first time only to wonder how they could unburn a jersey five seasons later.

If LeBron were a student, he would have the opportunity to transfer to a handful of schools. And he may be receiving backlash from peers who want him to stay. But LeBron has to do what's best for LeBron, whatever that may be. It is his life, after all.

He could stay with the comforts of home and a loaded roster behind him. He could go somewhere else to build his legend and lore even more. He has the option.

Seeing how he has an opportunity to pretty much command whatever he wants on the open market and play for a few different teams, he should definitely at least look at his opportunities. Sure, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love give him guys to work with, but what he did in Miami worked out pretty well too - two championships in four seasons.

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Where is LeBron James?

He hasn't taken over this series yet.

At 6-foot-8, 250 pounds he's a hard guy to miss, but I'm having a very hard time finding him this series. With all the talk going on about how much better the Cavs were going to be with a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving this go around, there hasn't been a single performance to back that up.

The Cavs look lost; they're nowhere close to the team we saw win 10 straight games to start the playoffs. One thing is definitely for sure though, the Cavs are only going as far as LeBron will take them.

One of the big differences between Steph Curry and LeBron James is that one of these guys looks like he could still be in college and one of them is an absolute physical specimen. Any 16-year-old could camp-stand beyond the arc and drill three-pointer after three-pointer and could actually "be" Steph Curry. But absolutely no one can "be" LeBron James. LeBron isn't your typical human being, yet he sure is playing as if he is.

It's frustrating watching him play. He has no confidence in his jump shot, but still many possessions still see LeBron settling for jumpers. And yet, we still see glimpses of the force he can be. At the end of the second half on back-to-back possessions, LeBron willed his way to the hoop. Even Skip Bayless, who is an idiot 95% of the time, acknowledges this!

Where is the Lebron James that put up 36 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists in last year's NBA Finals?

Of course those numbers are a tad inflated, especially when your starting point guard was Matthew Dellavedova for pretty much the entire NBA Finals, but nonetheless, LeBron willed his way to two wins with a starting five consisting of players with 2K overall ratings all under 80.

He can do that though. He's that good. We saw it on his way to his first Finals appearance in 2007 against the Detroit Pistons in one of the best games of his career.

He had a stretch in 2013 that was one of the most dominant we've ever seen. He went 6 consecutive games where he scored 30-plus points on 60 percent shooting.

You know how many times LeBron has scored more than 30 this postseason? Once.

Absolutely baffling.

With all the talk that the Cavaliers role players need to step up, LeBron is the one who needs to lead his cavalry into battle. After all, if LeBron can't play the role of Batman, how can we expect Kyrie or Kevin Love to be his Robin?

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NBA Fans Have Already Won

The 2016 Finals rematch will be historic one way or another.

Ahhhh, things are finally back to normal.

After the Oklahoma City Thunder and their freakishly athletic seven-footers threatened to bounce the greatest regular season team in NBA history, order has finally been restored. The Golden State Warriors, behind an incredible game six performance from Klay Thompson and a long-awaited return to form in game seven, are going back to the NBA Finals in search of their second consecutive NBA Championship and, dare I say it, immortality.

The only thing standing in their way is a Cavaliers team led by a 6-foot-8, 250 pound athletic freak of nature who was specifically put on this earth to dominate basketball and simultaneously cause all of our jaws to drop to the floor while he does it.

Of course, I'm talking about LeBron James. Now, it's no secret that I looooooove LeBron (check out this article), and it goes without saying that I really want Cleveland to finally take the Larry O'Brien trophy home.

But when I really think about, I'd be fine with any result, because either way, we'll witness one of the greatest moments in NBA history.

And here's why.

Warriors Win
Well, there you have it, plain and simple: we've just witnessed the greatest season in the history of the NBA.

Steph Curry lit the league up for 402 three pointers, including the following one, which is one of the most incredible, improbable, and simply mind-blowing shots in NBA history.


The Warriors set the mark for most wins in an NBA season, with a record of 73-9.

Double wow.

And to top it all of, they became just the tenth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the playoffs, even after getting blown off the court two games in a row.

Triple... No quadruple... no... forget it:

WOW TO THE INFINITY! (Second grade me would be so proud right now)

So while Scottie Pippen and plenty of other NBA veterans stand there and whine about the Warriors being bad for basketball, we can just sit there and laugh (until they get angry... then we run).

We just witnessed the greatest team in NBA history.

Cavaliers Win
Here's something that might surprise you: I think LeBron James is the best player in NBA history.

Now hold on just a second: While I do adamantly believe that, I am more than accepting of people who go with the common notion that Michael Jordan is the best.

But given the fact that I only vaguely remember the Wizards version of MJ (and by vaguely, I mean hardly at all... I was seven when he played his last game with them), I stick with LeBron. I've actually seen his entire career, and can remember almost everything about it.

And it's been amazing.

And moreover, I'm sure the Jordan-era was the same way, but I wouldn't know: I guess you just had to be there.

However, if LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are able to vanquish the mighty Warriors, I'll no longer budge:

LeBron is the best player ever. Period.

Because, while Jordan was an otherworldly player, a fierce competitor, and just a nightmare for NBA teams in the finals, he was rarely the following:

A substantial underdog.

And Even though LeBron is now flanked with the final components of his "big three" in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the odds are still at pretty much the same spot they were last season, sitting at +180 for a Cavs victory.

Everybody believes in the Warriors. Well, not literally everybody, but almost everybody. Check out this article from Sports Illustrated.

So now, facing the greatest team in regular season history, who just happen to be coming off of three straight wins in the Western Conference finals, the Chosen One, the hometown hero, the one and only LeBron James, is tasked with putting his team on his back, elevating his game to a level we've never seen before, and finally bringing a championship to Cleveland.

And if he does just that, break out the crying Jordan memes:

We just witnessed the greatest player of all time in the defining moment of his storied career.

So stop talking about conspiracies and just watch:

History is about to be made. We just don't know who's going to make it.