March 3, 2024

Everyone remembers LeBron James’ signature block in the 2016 NBA Finals on Andre Iguodala. I’ve watched that highlight probably a million times. Wait. I’m going to watch it again – hold on.

Okay, one million and one.

The reason I bring up the LeBron block all of these years later is that no one ever talks about how JR Smith successfully made Andre Iguodala reposition himself going up to the rim while *not* fouling him either before LeBron swopped in.

Without JR, there is no block and without no block there potentially is no championship in Cleveland.

Now, let’s fast-forward to 2023. The Cavs are facing the Brooklyn Nets in Cleveland and ended up being down 10 with little time left. I even remember saying to myself…

“It’s over.”

This was when Joe Harris made the three to increase the Nets’ lead to 104-94 with just 6:19 to go in the game. Harris made another three a bit later to make the lead 107-98 Nets with 4:52 left…yikes.

Fun Fact: Joe Harris was on that very Cavaliers 2016 roster (just not on the playoff roster). He played sparingly on the Cavs for two seasons total before transitioning to said Nets for the last seven years. This article isn’t about Joe Freakin’ Harris though.

Cavs’ scoring in final minutes:

Levert makes two foul shots (107-100)

Allen makes a hook shot (109-102)

Mobley dunks (109-104)

Levert hits two foul shots (112-106)

Levert makes layup (112-108)

Mitchell makes layup (112-110)

Mitchell makes a jumper (114-112)

What would end up happening is Donovan Mitchell gets fouled. He has a chance to tie the game at 114 with just 12 seconds left.

He hits the first…

Absolutely bricks the second, front of the rim. The ball bounces, it’s tipped a few times and lands in the hands of Caris LeVert back near midcourt. He has just under six seconds and the team is down one.

Now, if it’s me I’m probably trying to jack up a three for the win. Simple as that. Be the hero. Win the contest even if it’s an impossible shot. But LeVert had the wherewithal to look for the open man. He snaps a pass to the left corner with amazing visuals to his teammate, Issac Okoro.

Okoro shoots the three for the win, drills it and is the hero. The Cavs win 116-114! Now, this isn’t to discredit Okoro’s clutch game-winning shot. It’s just to point out the AMAZING pass by LeVert that made it even happen.

Just like the solid defense by JR Smith that allowed LeBron the opportunity to make that block and get the Cavs a title.

Sometimes it’s not always the hero that’s the hero. If that makes sense…



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