Nearly seven years ago, the 50-32 Cavaliers were on a quest for their first NBA Championship in franchise history. At the time, it had been a 37 year drought that still continues to this day. Led by superstar LeBron James, these Cavaliers were capable of going all the way.

The first two playoff series were nothing more than a breeze. The Cavs easily swept the Washington Wizards, 4-0. Then, took care of business against the then New Jersey Nets in six games, losing only games three and five. Impressively, the team was able to keep its focus before the real battle began against the hated Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Cavaliers, having lost to the Pistons in the second round of the playoffs the past two years straight, were hungry to finally knock of the ’04 champs. The thought was daunting, almost inconceivable, but we had Lebron James, and sometimes that was simply enough.

The first two games at the Palace of Auburn Hills had identical finals scores. 99-96, with Detroit coming out on top.

Game one saw Lebron James dishing the ball off to teammate Donyell Marshall in the corner for a chance to win the game on a three ball. The shot was missed, and Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the series. James was criticized for shying away from the final shot, but Marshall was truly wide open. If the shot goes in, he looks like the unselfish genius.

The next go round saw Lebron missing a spinning shot in the lane with 7.9 seconds to go. Despite chances from Larry Hughes and Anderson Varejao, it was over. This series looked like it was going to have the same outcome as the previous two. 2-0 Detroit.

“I believe there was some contact, but there’s been a lot of contact throughout this series,” James said. “We’re a no-excuse team and we can’t look at the last play as why we lost. We just have to get better.”

Finally, the two squads traveled back to Cleveland where the Cavs were able to grab games three and four to even up the series at two games a piece. Game three saw LeBron drop 33-9-9 in what was the biggest game of his career at the time. He led the charge for a Cavaliers 88-82 victory on the home floor. In game four, Daniel Gibson scored 21 points including 12-12 from the foul line. Shoot it, Boobie! Shoot it!

On game four: “I told my teammates, ‘Get me to the fourth and it’s close, and I’ll try my best to win,” James said.

Alright, we’ve made it. Game five back in Detroit was the greatest individual performance I have ever witnessed. Not only because of what happened out on the floor, but because of how important that game was to this team, this city and these fans. The final score was 109-107, but how it got there was absolutely unbelievable.

The game started off like any normal game. These two powerhouses traded buckets, and it was a highly contested game throughout. Then, with 2:48 seconds to go in the 4th, power forward Drew Gooden connected on the second of two foul shots to make the score 88 Detroit, 84 Cleveland.

Now you’re probably wondering why that means anything. Simply put, LeBron would take it the rest of the way.

Throughout the remainder of regulation and the two overtime periods, it would be James and James alone that scored. Driving to the hole, pulling up for the smooth jumpers and even knocking a few fade-aways in the corner had everyone on the planet in awe of James’ stellar performance.

Lebron James scored the last 25 points for the Cavs…by himself.

Down 91-89, James took it to the hole and finished with a ferocious slam to send the game to overtime. In OT, a dunk, five foul shots and a 20 foot jump shot was enough to send the game to a second overtime. Finally, two difficult 19-footers and a three pointer set the game up for the Cavaliers to dart back to Cleveland with a 3-2 series lead.

With 11.4 seconds to go, Lebron caught the ball with his big feet on the “S” of Pistons near half court. He surveyed the floor for a couple seconds while Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups (one of the players I respect most) pressed up on James. Then, like a bolt of lightening he was by him. As all five Pistons darted towards the lane, there would be no kick outs, no sharing of the basketball, none of that. The King was GOING to score, and that’s exactly what he did.

Lebron scissored through the lane, and with immaculate body control he was able to scoop down and then flip the ball into the basket…a perfect kiss of the glass. A kiss that all of Cleveland remembers.

After Lebron left the our team for the Miami Heat, I hated him just like you did too. However, it’s unfair for us not to recognize all the great he did for this city. He put Cleveland Cavaliers basketball back on the map, and his godly performance that last night of May proves it. The Cavaliers would go on the win game six in Cleveland, but would be swept away by the San Antonio Spurs in four.

That game five made me proud to be a Clevelander, and even prouder to wear the wine and gold colors.

Those great times will come again, I promise. Just stay patient.

-Zach Shafron

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