Cleveland fans’ excitement erupts for NBA Finals


Cleveland Cavaliers fans begin to fill up Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, for Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Cavs defeated the Golden State Warriors, 96-91.

Leslie Hurrell

The Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night to continue on the road to the team’s first championship in franchise history.

Downtown Cleveland was buzzing with thousands of people. Restaurants, bars and streets were packed with Cavs fans preparing and hoping for a win.

“I’ve been down here since 2 p.m.,” said Jimmy Brabenec, a lifelong Cavaliers fan. “It’s just an amazing atmosphere before games.”

Brabenec said he is confident in this year’s Cavaliers team winning the title, a feat he has been waiting for since he was a child.

East 4th Street was packed so tightly with people that most struggled to move. ESPN broadcasted before the game. Fans cheered wildly behind the set completely decked out in Cavs attire.

“I’m extremely excited and nervous,” Cavs fan Christen Hawks said. “The last two games have been extremely close, and there is a possibility tonight will be, too.”

As it started getting closer to game time, fans worked their way toward Quicken Loans Arena for the FanFest outside.

FanFest offered games, food trucks and performances from the Cavalier Girls. Fans of all ages came out to experience FanFest.

“This FanFest is a great opportunity to get in the middle of the action even if we aren’t going to the game,” Cavaliers fan Jamil Kassabri said. “It’s so much fun to come down here and cheer on the Cavs with everyone.”

Kassabri said he is confident the Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals.

“We are going to win. (Point guard Matthew Dellavedova has) got to play his same defense and Lebron (James) has gotta keep doing what he’s been doing.”

Dellavedova played hard defense on NBA MVP Stephen Curry in the previous Finals game.

Another fan, Peri Brabenec, said what she thought about the point guard. “ Delly needs to play just as good defense on Steph(en Curry) as he did in the game on Sunday.”

Cavs fans were eager to get into the arena and have the game start. Fans said they felt a mix of emotions, as they were excited, confident and nervous.

The bustling atmosphere of the city of Cleveland remained at tipoff.

“I know we are going to win, we just need to continue to play the way we have been, and even a little better,” Brabenec said. “Lebron will bring this championship home, I know it.”

Contact Leslie Hurrell at [email protected].