As we head into the Cleveland Browns Christmas Day matchup with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, we look back at the greatest Christmas Day game in Cleveland sports history.
The date was December 25th, 2016 and the Cleveland Cavaliers were coming off their first NBA Championship coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in 7 games. The series win ended the city of Cleveland's 52 year championship drought.
The 2016 Christmas Day matchup was a finals rematch as the Warriors traveled to Cleveland for the first time since their game 6 NBA Finals loss. This was the Cavaliers 14th Christmas Day game in franchise history and certainly the most memorable.
Not only did it mark the first time the teams had met since the Cavaliers 2016 game 7 clinching win, but it also marked the debut of Kevin Durant in a Warriors uniform against the CAVS.
Durant would have a memorable performance scoring 36 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. But for Cavaliers fans, their biggest memory of Durant on this day was 36-year old Richard Jefferson dunking on him in the 4th quarter to jumpstart the Cavaliers comeback run.
That dunk by Jefferson started a 14-3 run that helped erase a 14-point 4th quarter Golden State lead with just over nine minutes to play in the game. The teams want back and forth for the next seven plus minutes before the Cavaliers took a 2-point lead with 1:45 to play when Kyrie Irving found Lebron James for a monster dunk.
After a Steph Curry three and an Irving layup that put the score at 107-106 in favor of Golden State with under a minute to go, the CAVS defense stopped the Warriors forcing a 24-second violation setting the stage for Kyrie's improbable shot. Irving drove inside on Klay Thompson before stopping 13 feet from the basket and hitting a turnaround fadeaway shot to give the Cavaliers a 108-107 with 3.4 seconds remaining.
The Warriors had one last chance to win it but solid defense by Richard Jefferson caused Kevin Durant to stumble and he was not able to get off a final shot clinching the 108-107 win for the Cavaliers.
It was an epic Christmas Day game between two NBA juggernauts that did not disappoint and gave Cavaliers fans an extra give from Santa.
The Browns have the opportunity to create another memorable Christmas Day game for the city of Cleveland on Saturday if they can knock off the 11-3 Green Bay Packers and keep their AFC North division championship dream alive.
Merry Christmas from the team at Believeland Media LLC!
Full Highlights of the Warriors/Cavaliers 2016 Christmas Day matchup
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