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Mitch's Sports Report: The King James Saga Comes Full Circle In Historic Cleveland Win

Today is the summer solstice, and for the long-suffering sports fans of Cleveland, the sunrise to mark the first official day of summer will be shining just a bit brighter than anywhere else in the country when it comes up over the Cuyahoga this morning.

Cleveland, for so long the butt of jokes, the "mistake by the lake", the city with sports teams that that come close but never close, vanquished those demons last night when one of its one, Lebron James, the prodigal son returned, led his team to an historic  championship by defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in game seven of the NBA finals in Oakland last night.

No NBA team had ever come back from a three games to one deficit to win an NBA final as the Cleveland Cavaliers did in this series. Only two players in a game seven NBA final ever recorded a triple double as James did last night. His 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebound effort earned him MVP honors for the series, a series in which he outshone the heir apparent to his throne as best basketball player in the world, Steph Curry. The effort overcame a monster game from Curry's teammate Draymond Green, who was draining three-pointers the way Popeye drains spinach, finishing with 32 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists on a night when lead changes and ties went back and forth like a ping pong match.

Of course, James didn't do it alone. The biggest shot of the game, the one that put the Cavaliers ahead for good, was courtesy of  Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, who leaped over Curry's outstretched hand and nailed a three with just fifty-three seconds left in regulation, breaking an 89-89 tie. The game's outcome was still uncertain when James went for a slam dunk and missed, falling hard to the floor with ten seconds left to go, writhing in pain and grabbing his wrist. He was fouled on the play and when he recovered had two free throws to make it a two-possession game and salt the win away. But James missed the first one and Cleveland fans had to be thinking the worst given similar scenarios from days gone by in which defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. If James missed the second shot the Warriors would have ten clicks of the clock to tie and any number of three-point specialists ready to send the game to overtime. But James rattled home the next shot and the four-point margin stood as the final, giving the city of Cleveland its first major pro sports championship since the pre-superbowl Jim Brown days of 1964.

James' saga has now truly come full circle. Welcomed as the savior of the city when he emerged from nearby Akron as a high school phenom, unable to deliver Cleveland a title in his first years with the team, later vilified as a traitor when he left for Miami in free agency and won titles in south beach, he is now the forgiven one, the savior he was projected to be, opting to return to Cleveland and making good on his promise to deliver the city its first title in fifty-two years. And to do it in a fashion never accomplished before, against a team that set an NBA record this season for most regular season wins, to do it on the road in a deciding game seven when the series looked like it would be a lopsided blowout for the team that had beat them the year before, elevates this one into mythic territory. So forget about Elway and the drive. Give Ernest Byner a spot in the parade. Craig Ehlo can stop watching the tape of Jordan making the shot over him at the buzzer. Jose Mesa, maybe the Tribe will be next. All the past heartaches are old news now in the light of a new day dawning in Cleveland on the first day of summer, because there is no mistake by the lake, the Cavs are champs.

In Major League Baseball David Price of the Boston Red Sox has now pitched into the 8th inning in his last three starts, and even though he got little run support again, he was so good it didn't matter, as the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 yesterday at Fenway. Mookie Betts hot a solo home run in the 7th to break a 1-all tie and give the Sox a Father's Day win.

Ervin Santana made his best start of the year for the very awful, no good this year Minnesota Twins, pitching into the 8th as the Twinkies avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the NY Yankees, winning 7-4 yesterday. Nathan Eovaldi took the loss for the Yanks, his second in a row. The Twins used a four-run sixth inning to end their five-game losing skid.

At Citi Field yesterday the NY Mets were bedazzled by the Atlanta Braves' Julio Teheran, who threw a one-hit masterpiece in the Braves' 6-0 shutout.

The VT Lake Monsters lost their home opener yesterday in a 13-inning marathon against the CT Tigers in NY Penn League action. Coming up at 844 we'll preview the team's season with our sports correspondent Andy Gardiner. The Vermont Mountaineers beat Winnipesaukee 5-1 yesterday to break a seven-game skid and the Upper Valley Nighthawks fell to the Sanford Mainers 8-3.

Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open golf tournament yesterday and it's a good thing, too, because he was assessed the lamest penalty ever, sort of, when he was told that he would have one of his shots reviewed because he may have imperceptibly moved a ball before grounding his putter on a practice stroke on the fifth green. First he was told there was no violation then was later informed that after his round officials would review the incident and it could cost him a stroke, and he had to play the rest of the way with that over his head, but luckily he won by a good three strokes and it didn't matter.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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