This is it. Game 7. As LeBron James said, they’re the best two words in sports.
Sunday night, James’ Cleveland Cavaliers square off one last time with the Golden State Warriors for a shot to raise the Larry O’Brien trophy and call themselves NBA champions in 2016.
James leads all players on both teams in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Win or lose, he’s the frontrunner for Finals MVP. Should the Cavs capture the crown, though, they would become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals and win. They’re only the third team in history to force Game 7.
For the Warriors, they’ll be without the services of center Andrew Bogut, who was sidelined midway through Game 5 with a knee injury. Golden State returns home to Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., to play Game 7 in front of its home fans.
Forward Andre Iguodala has been making progress with the back injury he suffered in Game 6 and hasn’t required a cortisone shot yet, according to multiple reports. His health and ability to defend James could be the key to Sunday’s game.
For the Cavaliers, a clean bill of health. James and Kyrie Irving have played at an elite level for the past two games, and Tristan Thompson chipped in one of the best performances of his life in Game 6. They’ll need repeat performances from all if they stand a chance at taking home some hardware.
The game tips off on ABC at 8 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on WatchESPN.
Be sure to keep it right here at NESN.com for updates throughout the game and at NESN.com/NBA for all of your hoops coverage before, during and after the game.
END OF GAME: Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89
Stephen Curry misses a 3-pointer and the clock runs out.The Cleveland Cavaliers are the new world champions.
LeBron James collapses to the ground in tears. Tyronn Lue is crying on the bench. J.R. Smith is crying hugging his teammates.
What a shocking upset. The greatest regular season team in NBA history goes down in Game 7, and Cleveland wins its first major professional sports title since 1964.
James finishes with a a team-high 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Kyrie Irving added 23 points.
Draymond Green scored a game-high 32 points, added 15 points and 9 rebounds.
In his postgame interview, talking through tears, James screams “Cleveland! This if for you!”
The Cavaliers are the first team in NBA history to win the NBA Finals after trailing the series 3-1. It’s truly an incredible achievement.
This is the Cavaliers’ first championship in franchise history, and it breaks a 52-year championship drought for Cleveland professional sports franchises.
That will do it for us tonight. Stay tuned to NESN.com/NBA for more coverage of Cleveland’s first championship.
6.5: Cavs give a foul.
10.6: LeBron James makes the second. Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89. Timeout Golden State. Cavs have a foul to give.
10.6: LeBron James misses the first.
10.6: LeBron James tried to dunk all over Draymond Green who goes up strong with him. LeBron is down on the court and looks to be in serious pain. His entire team is on the court.
It was a clean foul from Green. James grabbed his right shoulder, then elbow.
18.7: Stepehen Curry misses a 3-pointer after great defense by Kevin Love. Golden State has to foul. The Finals come down to this.
:53.1: Kyrie Irving hits a 3-pointer and Cleveland takes a lead, 92-89.
1:09: Timeout Cleveland. We are STILL tied at 89. Couple bad shots, couple incredible defensive plays. This is the game of a lifetime. Eat your hearts out, basketball fans.
James’ triple-double is his seventh in the NBA Finals, second-most ever.
1:49: LeBron James just had an incredible block on an Andre Iguodala transition layup.
2:11: We’re still tied at 89. This is incredible.
2:57: LeBron James (26 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) has a triple-double. Draymond Green (32 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists) is an assist away from one of his own. James joins James Worthy and Jerry West as the only players in NBA history with a Game 7 Finals triple-double.
2:57: LeBron James misses a layup, his third consecutive missed shot. On review, it looks like Andre Iguodala might have gotten a piece of it. Excellent defensive play. We’re still tied at 89 and heading to break for a media timeout.
3:41: LeBron James misses a shot with Festus Ezeli guarding him, and then backs down Stephen Curry and misses over him as well. Those are looks James needs to make if the Cavs are going to win. We’re still tied.
4:52: LeBron James hits a 3-pointer, then Klay Thompson answers with a layup. We’re tied at 89. The game’s pace is sluggish right now, which favors the Cavs.
5:24: LeBron James hits all three. It’s a one point game. 87-86 Warriors.
5:24: LeBron James draws a foul on Festus Ezeli shooting a 3-pointer. That won’t end well for the Warriors.
5:35: Draymond Green cleans up a Steph Curry miss and the Warriors lead by four, 87-83. Richard Jefferson was on Curry, and that’s going to end poorly for the Cavs every single time.
6:17: Klay Thompson follows with a shot over his defender, and it’s 85-83 Warriors.
6:55: Stephen Curry just hit a 28-foot 3-pointer to tie the game. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
9:05: LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving all have scored in the quarter, and the Cavs lead 81-78.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Warriors 76, Cavaliers 75.
Draymond Green has a game-high 28 points as well as eight rebounds and seven assists. LeBron James has 16 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks and two steals. Kyrie Irving has a team-high 21 points.
3.2: Andre Iguodala hits a bucket in the pain to grab a lead heading into the fourth quarter.
1:19: Another lead change. Harrison Barnes drains a 3-pointer. 74-73 Warriors.
1:36: LeBron James breaks the tie with a fallaway jumper on the baseline.
1:56: Hey there, Shaun Livingston. His first bucket of the half is a dunk in transition, and it ties the NBA Finals at 71. It’s an 8-1 run for the Warriros in 67 seconds.
2:42: Really terrific defensive sequence from Draymond Green, who moves around a pick to stop LeBron James from scoring at the rim. Oh, and then he went and drained another 3. 71-69 Cavs.
3:03: Heads-up play from Draymond Green. He draws a foul on LeBron James while shooting a 3-pointer and sinks all three free throws. 70-66 Cavs.
3:57: A 3-pointer for Kyrie Irving, his first of the game. He’s got 21 now. Consider this his breakout moment of the game.
4:20: A nice timeout play breaks the Warriors’ funk as Harrison Barnes gets a dunk.
4:33: Make that 11-0. A bad turnover from Stephen Curry leads to another Kyrie Irving and-1 layup, and he now the Cavs guard has nine points in the third quarter. 65-59 Cavaliers.
6:24: Quick little 6-0 run for the Cavaliers regains the lead, 60-59.
7:38: Stephen Curry curls around a screen and hits a 3-pointer. 59-54 Warriors. Timeout Cleveland. Don’t poke the MVP.
8:20: Wow, what a play by Stephen Curry, who breaks up a J.R. Smith lob to LeBron James and takes the ball coast-to-coast for a layup over a helpless Kevin Love. 56-54 Warriors.
8:53: J.R. Smith hits a few more 3-pointers, Kyrie Irving gets a baseline layup and it’s suddenly a tie game after an 8-0 Cleveland run. 54 up. Timeout Warriors.
Play comes after Smith dropped Stephen Curry with a hard, hip-check foul on the previous possession.
10:52: Klay Thompson drains a 3-pointer and then a pull-up jumper. 54-46 Warriors, the largest lead of the night.
11:23: Draymond Green has missed his first 3-pointer of the night.
J.R. Smith opened the second half scoring with a 3-pointer.
12:00: We’re underway.
HALFTIME: Warriors 49, Cavaliers 42.
Draymond Green has a game-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers. He also has six rebounds and five assists. Stephen Curry has nine points and is Golden State’s second-leading scorer, but also has three fouls already.
The Warriors hit 10 3-pointers in the opening half, something Cleveland will have to cool if they hope to win the game. They only trail by seven points, but with 24 minutes left in the NBA season and a championship in the balance, every point feels devastating.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have hit just one 3-pointer, but they’ve dominated the paint battle 28-12. LeBron James has 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal. Kyrie Irving is Cleveland’s second-leading scorer with nine points.
— Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson haven’t played particularly well. But, as Paul Pierce just pointed out on ABC’s halftime show, James and Irving haven’t exploded yet, either. It should be an eventful second half.
— Draymond Green entered Game 7 as a +900 underdog on the Finals MVP odds line. He’s making a big case to take home that hardware if the Warriors hold on to win.
1:09: Curry picks up his third foul on a questionable call and leaves the game. He’ll likely sit for the remainder of the half.
1:44: Another three points for Draymond Green, but this time he had to earn the third at the foul line. Leandro Barbosa follows with a quick 3-pointer in transition. Golden State has the largest lead of the game, 47-40.
3:30: Here comes LeBron James again. The King drives to the rack and finishes but misses his free throw. 41-40 Warriors
3:46: 5-for-5. Draymond Green has 19 points. 41-38 Warriors.
4:00: Kyrie Irving answers again. He scores three the hard way to tie the game at 38.
Draymond Green has 16 points, four rebounds and five assists already. LeBron James has 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
4:07: Make it four 3-pointers for Draymond Green. He’s on fire. He had missed 10-straight 3-pointers entering Game 7.
4:27: Kyrie Irving ties the game with a difficult floater in the pain, as the shot clock was winding down.
5:44: Draymond Green hits his third 3-pointer. He has 13 points. J.R. Smith gets called for an offensive foul on the other end and Oracle goes wild.
Timeout Cleveland. 35-33 Warriors.
6:36: Stephen Curry picks up his second foul.
6:52: That was short-lived. Stephen Curry earns three the hard way. 32-31 Warriors.
7:02: Iman Shumpert hits Cleveland’s first 3-pointer of the night, and he’s fouled on the play. He sinks the shot for the 4-point play, giving Cleveland the lead back, 31-29.
7:24: Kevin Love is playing this quarter, but nearly picked up his third personal foul while working on an offensive rebound over Harrison Barnes. The foul was called on Barnes, but it definitely could have gone either way.
8:24: Timeout Cleveland. The Warriors lead 29-27.
Both teams are 11-for-28 shooting. Cleveland is winning the paint battle 20-6, while Golden State is winning the 3-point shooting (6-for-13 to 0-for-6).
9:01: We’ve got a Mo Williams sighting! He regains the lead for the Cavs, but it’s a brief one. Draymond Green answers with a 3-pointer. 29-27 Warriors.
10:07: We’re trading buckets in the second quarter. 25-24 Cleveland.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Cavaliers 23, Warriors 22.
Draymond Green leads all scorers with seven points, while teammates Steph Curryen and Klay Thompson have six and five, respectively.
LeBron James scored six points and added six rebounds and three assists but also had three turnovers. Kevin Love played well with five points and seven rebounds, but he picked up two personal fouls in the process and likely will sit for a majority of the second quarter.
First quarter, 2:00: The Warrios re-take the lead after a Steph Curry 3-pointer. 19-16 Warriors.
First quarter, 3:10: The Cavs briefly took the lead, but the Warriors took it right back.
Stephen Curry missed a steal attempt, and LeBron James threw down an emphatic dunk on the baseline. We’re tied at 16.
First quarter, 4:48: Klay Thompson hit a pretty turnaround jumper over Kyrie Irving.
Warriors 13, Cavaliers 10.
First quarter, 6:51: Andre Iguodala checks into the game for the first time.
Stephen Curry drains a 3-pointer and he’s on the board.
Warriors 11, Cavs 10.
First quarter, 6:58: Warriors 8, Cavs 8.
Kyrie Irving is on the board after hitting a turnaround, fadeaway jumper.
First quarter, 9:04: Warriors 8, Cavaliers 4.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Harrison Barnes (!) and Draymond Green give the Warriors their first lead of the night.
First quarter, 10:13: Cavaliers 4, Warriors 2.
A Draymond Green dunk gets the Warriors are on the board.
First quarter, 11:03: Tristan Thompson scores the game’s first basket.
Opening tip: We are under way in Game 7. Cavaliers possess the ball first.
8:09 p.m.: LeBron James is 0-2 in Game 7s with Cleveland. He was 3-0 with the Miami Heat.
8:04 p.m.: Aloe Blacc is singing the national anthem. We’re minutes away from the opening tip.
8:02 p.m.: LeBron James is favored to take home the NBA Finals MVP, win or lose, according to OddsShark.
James is a -190 favorite, while reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry is second at +250.
Check out the full odds here.
7:47 p.m.: The Golden State Warriors have taken the court for warmups.
Festus Ezeli is starting at center for Golden State. Andre Iguodala, nursing a back injury, will return to the bench.
7:30 p.m.: It looks like the Cavs are sticking with what works after taking Game 5 on the road.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images