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#pounditSaturday, June 22, 2024

LeBron James’ block, Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer were the plays of the game

LeBron James block

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving delivered two of the more memorable plays in recent NBA Finals history over the last minutes of the Cavaliers’ 93-89 Game 7 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night at Oracle Arena.

With under two minutes left and the game tied at 89, both teams were struggling to make baskets. In fact, Golden State did not score a point after Klay Thompson’s layup with 4:39 left. But the Warriors looked like they were going to get a sure bucket to take the lead with under two minutes remaining until LeBron came out of nowhere to block his shot:

Like seriously, where did he come from? He ambushed Iguodala like a highway patrol cop flagging down a speeding car in 1.5 seconds flat. But as many fans can tell you, the chasedown block is actually LeBron’s specialty:

The defensive play was great, but the Cavs also needed to make a basket to finally pull ahead. They got it when Irving broke the tie with a 3-pointer with just under a minute left:

That was the game.

Kyrie was amazing during the Finals. He was everything the Cavs hoped he’d become when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He blossomed into exactly what LeBron thought he could be when he decided to return to Cleveland.

Irving elevated his game in the postseason, averaging 25.2 points, 1.8 steals and shooting 47.8 percent and 44.1 percent on threes, compared to 19.6, 1.1, 44.8 percent and 32.1 percent in the regular season. He was awesome in Games 3-5, and particularly special in Game 5 when he had 41 points on 17-for-24 shooting. He emerged as a superstar in the series and really reminded me of Dwyane Wade in the 2006 NBA Finals.

Many people were praising Kevin Love for his defense and rebounding, but I thought he missed too many shots. I thought Tristan Thompson had another very good series against Golden State. The big man went 9-of-9 from the field in Games 6 and 7 combined and posted four double-digit rebound games. And what more can you say about LeBron? The guy saw his numbers increase across the board in the playoffs. He posted back-to-back 41-point games in Games 5 and 6 and then a triple-double in Game 7. All three were wins for the Cavs as they became the first team to come back from down 3-1 in the NBA Finals. And this wasn’t an ordinary comeback either; they did it on the road against the best team in regular season history.

This should once and for all end every and any possible argument you could have against LeBron not being clutch. The guy’s a pure star and now has won three championships and reached seven Finals. He has four regular season MVPs and three Finals MVPs. That’s a pretty awesome resume.

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