Why the most clutch shot in NBA history belongs to Kyrie Irving and Game 7
The NBA’s tagline for years now has been, “Where Amazing Happens”, and we saw the NBA’s most amazing spectacle in Oakland on the 19th of June, 2016.
When anybody talks about the biggest made basket in NBA history, there will always be debate. When you think of those moments, vivid memories of John Paxson, Robert Horry, Ray Allen and of course Michael Jordan come to mind. A name that will be forever included in those lists will be the Cleveland Cavaliers own, Kyrie Irving.
“I remember not breathing for a second,” said Cavs general manager David Griffin. “I thought: God, this is the most important possession of our lives.”
Every Cavs fan worldwide will remember exactly where they were in that moment, the moment Kyrie Irving stuck a dagger right through the heart of the Golden State Warriors, the moment he forever etched the Cleveland Cavaliers names in the history books.
The Cavaliers accomplished what no other team in the history of the NBA had been able to, forcing a Game 7 and coming back from a 3-1 Finals deficit. It’s because of those two words, ‘Game 7’, that make Kyrie Irving’s shot the biggest and most clutch shot in history.
The majority of the NBA’s past iconic field goals have taken place in the NBA Finals, but have lacked the magic of a Game 7 moment. Robert Horry’s game winner against the Detroit Pistons came in Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals. Ray Allen’s nail-biting three point shot for the Miami Heat took San Antonio into overtime in Game 6 in 2013. John Paxson’s 1993 dagger and Steve Kerr’s 1997 moment were both Game 6 for the Chicago Bulls, while Michael Jordan’s infamous push off jumpshot against the Utah Jazz in 1998 iced another title for the Bulls, in Game 6.
Let’s not take any credit away from these athletes and their incredible shots. A game winner in Game 6 of the NBA Finals will always be something to be proud of, they are all highlights that NBA fans will talk about, will tell their grandchildren about, but Game 7 is a bigger stage.
The final minutes of that night in the Bay Area was a stalemate at its best. There was no score for 3 minutes and 26 seconds, both teams missing very make-able shots right at the rim. Both teams were afraid of missing, and for good reason.
When Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala raced down the floor on a two on one fast break with 1:51 left on the clock, each and every Cavs fans heart stopped for just a second. This was the go ahead basket, this was the game.
Before Kyrie Irving had his time to shine, LeBron James saved the Cavaliers from another year of heartbreak. Flashes of ‘The Fumble’, ‘The Shot’ & ‘The Drive’ came to mind as Steph passed the ball to Iguodala. With the weight of Cleveland’s 52 year championship drought on his shoulders LeBron James soared from what seemed like the other side of the floor to rewrite it all, to add his own moment. James provided Game 7 with the most famous defensive play in NBA history, ‘The Block’.
With 1:09 left, Coach Tyronn Lue called his biggest timeout of the season, drawing up the most important play of his life. The inbound play was expected to be executed by the hands of LeBron, to finish off the superhuman Finals performance he had already put forth. But instead, the trust had been placed with the 24 year old, Kyrie Irving.
The screen was set and the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP, Steph Curry, was faced with guarding Irving on that illustrious possession. A retreat dribble, through the legs, to the right, stepback, BANG. Millions of people around the world came to realization in that moment that the Cavs had just made history. The Cleveland Cavaliers would be forever remembered as the 2016 World Champions.
19,596 fans sat in Oracle Arena that day and witnessed the greatest offensive moment in the 69 year history of the National Basketball Association. That is a fact that will face the test of time, but to this day, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers owns the most clutch shot of all time.