On June 2nd in 2007, the Cleveland Cavaliers punched the ticket to their first-ever NBA Finals with a 98-82 Game 6 victory in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons.
Playing 44 minutes, the 22-year-old LeBron James led the way by stuffing the stat sheet. He finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds (game-high), eight assists (game-high), two steals, and two blocks.
In fact, he was putting up big numbers throughout the series. Through the six games, James averaged 25.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 2.7 steals in 46.2 minutes.
This was the franchise's third attempt to advance to the NBA Finals with the previous two Conference Finals appearances coming in 1976 and 1992 - both times the Cavaliers lost to the eventual champion in the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls respectively.
Although winning the series-clinching Game 6 by 16 points made a statement, given that it was only game of the series that recorded a winning margin of more than six points, James and the Cavaliers had pretty much sealed the series when they won Game 5 in double overtime in Detroit.
With one of his greatest playoff performances (to-date), James willed his team to victory by going off for 48 points including 29 of the last 30 and 25 straight. Playing 50 minutes, he also finished with nine rebounds, seven assists, and two steals while shooting 18-of-33 from the field.
Courtesy of James heroics' with averages of 25.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.7 steals through the 16 games in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Cavaliers were able to make franchise history.
However, in the championships series against the San Antonio Spurs, they failed to register a win. Instead, the Spurs registered the eighth sweep in NBA Finals history en route to their fourth championship in franchise history and the third in the span of five years.
Other notable events on June 2nd
- In 1985, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, during Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, would pass Jerry West (4,457) to become the all-time leading scorer in NBA playoff history. He currently ranks third and was later passed by Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
- In 2011, the Dallas Mavericks come from 15 points down (with 7:14 left in the game) to win Game 2, 95-93 and tie the Finals at one game apiece. The Mavericks capped off the game with a 22-5 run, snapping the Heat's nine-game home win streak - costing them a chance to tie the 1996 Bulls' mark of 10 straight. The 15-point comeback is the largest since the 24-point comeback the Celtics made against the Lakers in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Notable playoff eliminations on June 2nd
- In 2006, the Miami Heat clinched their first Conference Championship in franchise history by defeating the Detroit Pistons 95-78 in Game 6. Thus, booking their first-ever NBA Finals appearance.
- In 2002, the Los Angeles Lakers, led by their superstar duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, advanced to their third-straight NBA Finals after they defeated the Sacramento Kings 112-106 in overtime in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
- In 2000, the Indiana Pacers progressed to their first-ever 'NBA' Finals by defeating the New York Knicks 93-80 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
- In 1996, the Seattle Supersonics booked their third NBA Finals appearance by defeating the Utah Jazz 90-86 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. This was the franchise's first Finals appearance since 1979.
- In 1989, the Detroit Pistons defeated the Chicago Bulls 103-94 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to their second consecutive NBA Finals.
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