Even though Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals may go down as the single greatest game in Cleveland sports history, it has been remembered as a way more entertaining game than it actually was.
Starting off with the first couple minutes, the only baskets scored were on wide-open jump shots or open looks in the paint. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both terribly missed a three each, with Curry clanking the backboard and Thompson air balling. Festus Ezeli missed three easy looks, LeBron James threw a pass straight through Tristan Thompson’s hands, and Kevin Love came up empty on a wide-open three. Neither team seemed to get anything going on offense, such as the Warriors bricking lots of wide-open threes. The Cavs offensively seemed to stand around and watch while someone called an isolation. Everyone seemed to be fazed by the big stage, with Lebron throwing two bad passes out of bounds early on. Both teams had struggles getting in rhythm, with each committing lazy turnovers. The Cavs defense allowed many open threes, which the Warriors connected on.
The Warriors bench players played as poorly in Game Seven as they were brilliant in Game One. Harrison Barnes shot 3/10, Ezeli went 0/4, Mareese Speights 0/2, Shuan Livingston 3/7, and Andre Iguodala 2/6. That wasn’t the end of the Warriors shooting woes, through. Curry and Thompson combined to go 12/36. Throughout the season, the Warriors were a team that if left open for even a second, they would make their opponent pay. But this game was completely different.
It wasn’t like the Cavs didn’t have their problems too, though. Except for Tristan Thompson, who only took three shots, no Cavs player had a good shooting night. Lebron, coming off back-to-back 40 point games, shot 9/24. Kyrie, who had been electrifying in the previous couple games, shot 10/23. Even J.R. Smith and Kevin Love, who had been respectable in the playoffs, shot poorly. With the Cavs running an eight-man rotation, their three bench players only had three makes on 10 shots!
While the final minutes were by far the most exciting of the series, the rest of the fourth quarter was just as slow-moving and low scoring an affair. The Cavs outscored the Warriors by five and the two combined scored just 31 points! Just think about that: the team that changed the way basketball is played, the greatest three-point shooting team, only scored 13 points! To put that into perspective, Tracy McGrady once scored 13 points in 33 seconds! When Kyrie Irving hit the shot over Steph Curry, it ended an almost four-minute scoring drought.
In Game Seven of the NBA Finals, with a tie game, neither team scored for almost four minutes!
Because of how the game ended with Lebron’s majestic chase-down block and Kyrie’s brilliant shot, the game tends to be viewed very differently today. Those final minutes were some of the greatest minutes in NBA history, although the rest of the game was not. So if the urge were to ever arise to rewatch the game, it would be best to just watch the final minutes instead of the whole game.