20 Jun 2016

Cleveland come back to claim NBA title

3:34 pm on 20 June 2016

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have beaten the Golden State Warriors 93-89 to win their first NBA championship and complete a remarkable comeback.

LeBron James and Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA final on 20 June 2016.

LeBron James and Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate after defeating the Golden State Warriors. Photo: AFP

With the victory over the top-seeded defending champions in Game Seven, the Cavaliers became the first team to rally from a 3-1 series deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals and win the title.

The win also ends decades of heartbreak for the city of Cleveland, which had not won a professional sports championship since the 1964 Cleveland Browns' win in the National Football League.

For James, who dropped to the court in tears after the final buzzer, the win not only marks his third championship following a pair of wins with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, but it fulfils his promise to deliver a title to his home state.

"I've had goal for two years since I came back to bring a championship to the city," said an emotional James, who returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 after a four-year stint with Miami that included a pair of NBA championships.

"I gave it everything that I had. I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game."

Facing elimination in each of their previous two games, James carried the Cavs back from the brink as they became only the third team to force a seventh game after falling behind 3-1 in the championship round.

"I knew what we were capable of, even being down 3-1 versus the greatest regular season team ever," said James.

"Everybody counted us out and that's when we strived the most and that's definitely when I strived the most when everybody counted me out."

For the Warriors, who had a record 73 wins during the 82-game regular season, the defeat marked the first time since November 2013 that they had lost three consecutive games.

The Warriors were in complete control of the series but were ultimately undone by the disappearance of their high-octane offence, a one-game ban to defensive stalwart Draymond Green, a season-ending injury to rim-protecting centre Andrew Bogut - and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala needing to deal with a balky back.

- Reuters