In an NBA landscape dominated by the three pointer and the dunk, Sunday night’s epic, low scoring Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals took on a very classic feel. Two teams literally slugged it out, missing shot after shot due to a combination of good defense and poor shooting. No single stat sums up the game better than the fact that the two teams shot just 16 from 74 on threes. That is a lowly 21%, a total that is much lower than we are accustomed to seeing. That right there makes it easy to see why neither team got anywhere 100 points, with the Cavs defeating the Celtics in Boston 89-79 at the buzzer.
That score seems like it could have been a comfortable Cavaliers win, but that is anything but the case. This was a truly magical evening for the Cavs, despite the fact that it was an ugly game. Things did not get off to a great start for them, going into the second quarter down by eight. The Celtics extended the lead to as much as 17 at one point in that quarter, but by the time half time rolled around LeBron James and his Cavaliers team had rolled the deficit back to just four points. You started to get the feeling that it was not going to be Boston’s night then. And if you felt that way, boy were you ever right.
James would play every single minute of the game, yet again, blocking shots, scoring points, grabbing rebounds, and dishing out assists. His legs were clearly jelly-like at some points in the game, causing him to make simple errors. But he atoned those with decisive plays, like his block of Terry Rozier after he had carelessly thrown the ball away. It was a true turning point for Cleveland, and it was one of the best leadership moments you could have drew up. You don’t always stay on the horse, but if you get back on before anyone knows it they’ll never notice you went down. That’s what he did.
What is the legacy of this game? Well, it shows us from where we have came. Minus the three point line, this was a 70s or 80s style game. This had Detroit Pistons- the bad boy variety- written all over it. But out of it we have seen a run extended- a quite jaw dropping one. LeBron James will be heading to an eighth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, and furthermore, it might just be a swansong for him in Cleveland.