LeBron, Cavs one win away from history
LeBron James' family, closest friends and some hangers-on who wanted a glimpse waited for him in the arena's hallways like they have since he was an unequalled Ohio high school star, the best player on any court.
They greeted him early Friday after Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when James dropped 41 points on Golden State for the second straight game and dominated Stephen Curry, staring down the MVP and taunting him after a dismissive block.
As Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx looked on, James kissed his mom, Gloria, and hopped into his Mercedes-Benz luxury van for the ride to Akron.
"One more game left," he said moments earlier.
One more win from the greatest comeback in Finals history and one more win from a championship, the one James came home for.
Playing at a level few have touched, James has pushed Cleveland to the brink of its first professional sports championship since 1964. With back-to-back epic performances, he's given hope to generations of fans who have known mostly sports misery that the drought will end today in Game 7 on Father's Day.
Down 3-1 in the series, the Cavaliers reverted to a strategy that has served James well: Give him the ball. Get out of the way.
Hesitant in Games 1 and 2, he's been in attack mode, posting up Curry for lay-ups and short turnarounds when the Warriors inexplicably switch on screens and leave the 6-foot-3 point guard at the mercy of a 250-pound wrecking ball crammed inside a No. 23 jersey.
And when Golden State sags defensively to help stop his drives, James is finding the open man or pulling up and making his outside jumper, considered the weakest aspect of his otherwise resplendent game.
The shots are falling. The Warriors are fading.