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Commentary: Fan-factor as hostile crowd surrounds Cavaliers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals

Posted: 2:34 PM, Jun 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-19 14:41:36-04

The Cleveland Cavaliers will go into do-or-die Game 7 Sunday pelted by the boos of strangers in Oakland, California, more than 2,000 miles away from the 20,000 hometown fans who they won't see swarming The Q to cheer them on.

Ah, there's the rub. They won't see the people who are for them.

The Cavs are not the only team to slow down in enemy territory. Only three teams out of 15 have won an NBA Finals Game 7 on the road.

The NBA recognizes the challenge facing Cleveland and stated,  "The Wine and Gold will have to continue their productivity at both ends of the floor for Game 7 in a hostile environment."

Can the fervor of Cleveland for its team surpass that limitation?

Perhaps 14-year-old Brad Stainbrook has given the team something it can carry beyond the visible into Oakland. 

In the face of a horde of Cavs fans buying up watch party tickets so fast that every seat and piece of standing room in and outside of The Q was gone in around three minutes Friday,  he started a petition for room in Progressive Field or FirstEnergy Stadium.

At last check,  it didn't look like Stainbrook would get his wish . But either way, he's shown the stuff that Cleveland fans are made of.

Think physics. Think electromagnetic stuff.

Even though what is visible gets the most attention, science says what can't be seen packs the ultimate power.

Can the Cavaliers go into the NBA Finals championship game carrying a cheering section mightier than the scowling fans they'll actually see surrounding them in Oracle Arena — what we're talking about here is gamma fans.

Gamma rays trump all things visible, no contest. They are so mighty, in fact, that when there is a burst, it can travel into a completely different galaxy than the one where it started. By compare, California isn't so far.

Will the electromagnetic power of Cavs fans unseen be strong enough to break Cleveland's 52-year losing streak in major sports championships and to overcome history — which says no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have already shown when it comes to history, the Cavs don't care. Exploding in Game 5, Cleveland's sons of thunder scored 41 points each. Never been done before in the Finals.

For Game 7, James' old high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary, has opened its doors for Cavs fans to gather and watch while far away on a distant shore, James and the team play their hearts out.

If the Cavs can pick up on the waves coming over from the school that still remembers and add to that a 14-year-old boy who is pleading to watch his team along with the 12,145 petitioners lining up behind him; then throw in the cheers of some 20,000 people who sucked-up tickets for the sold-out spaces in and around The Q; and while they're at it — feel the power of the Ohioans flooding watch parties in and around Cleveland for miles; then, finally, top that off with a belief that is even now buzzing among the cookouts, living rooms, barbershops, bars and byways of their home turf and beyond — they could win by physics.

Though there is no scientific agreement about what causes a gamma burst, even galaxies worth of distance can't stop it.

Cleveland goes into its Game 7 showdown for the NBA Finals championship tied 3-3 with the Golden State Warriors. Tipoff begins at 8 p.m. ET.  Winner takes all.