Game 7 of the NBA Finals is tonight as the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors. As Ezweav discussed this morning, it's been 19 years since the city of Cleveland has experienced a Game 7, and we've had our share of disappointments during that stretch. The sports misery extends well beyond that, though, as the last championship for the city in one of the three major sports occurred 52 years ago.
This is a Cleveland Browns site, but over the past couple of weeks, and really over the past week, I haven't mentally been able to put together many articles, and the reason is the fact that I'm consumed by the thought of the Cavaliers ending the drought. I had a similar feeling last year when the Cavaliers were up 2-1 in the NBA Finals before the team succumbed to the Warriors. This year, after being down 3-1, I was practically resigned to the fact that a better Cavs team than a year ago wouldn't even get as far in this year's NBA Finals.
As a Browns fan, I'm used to fantasizing about the "what-ifs?" because it's really the only thing that can keep you optimistic with season-after-season of losing. When Johnny Manziel was a rookie and Brian Hoyer started to flounder, I had grandiose delusions that Manziel would be the difference-maker to lead us to the postseason. When Josh Gordon was about to be suspended/banned for the 50th time, I'd profusely try to rationalize the A-cup/B-cup situation in Gordon's favor, because it was clear what the team's receiver situation would be without him. To an extent, the analytical approach by the new front office sounds innovative and has made me think, "what if the Browns can be trend-setters in the NFL?" It could just as easily blow up in our face again.
Back to the Cavaliers -- when the team was down 3-1, the "what-if" scenario I mapped out in my head was that Draymond Green would be suspended for Game 5, Cleveland would take care of business at home in Game 6, and then Game 7 would be anyone's game, albeit with the Cavaliers having all the momentum. It seemed like another fantasy, but I remember when I first saw the news around 7:00 PM a little over a week ago about Green's suspension. In my head, the wheels started spinning -- the fantasy was gaining traction. Then, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving put on the most clutch, complete-game two-man performance I've ever seen in an NBA game in such a hostile-sounding environment. Suddenly, the Warriors were bickering with a tone that was completely unlike a championship-focused team. The Cavaliers dominated Game 6 at home and Stephen Curry was ejected at the end of the game.
The fantasy has now become reality -- the series is knotted up, and the Cavaliers have the momentum. More importantly, James and Irving have already shown enough poise in such dire circumstances that I don't think a Game 7 will phase them. The Warriors are trending downward, but even with all the hits they've taken, they still have a great basketball team and the home court advantage that can reverse the tide.
Why did I write this brief column today? I'm not sure how much this will make sense, but the reason is because "I don't know what else to do." I can hardly think about the Browns right now. I can hardly think about anything other than tonight's game and the next "what-if" that is planted in my head. "What if tonight's the night?" "What if tonight's the night our lives as Cleveland sports fans change forever?"