We all will never forget the historic 3-1 Cavs’ comeback to win the championship in 2016. What is most poignant is “The Block” by LeBron James, where we let out a collective gasp, “The Shot” by Kyrie Irving, where we all yelled in joy and “The Stop” by Kevin Love to seal the deal.
However, what everyone knows but isn’t talked about much is the entire effort it took to make that comeback.
Three entire games of great basketball from start to finish.
Game 5 of that series, most fans half-heartedly watched expecting the Warriors to close to it then and there. Cue LeBron and Kyrie to both drop 41 to win 112-97 in blowout fashion.
Game 6 was back in Cleveland and obviously might have even favored the Cavs. However, business had to be taken care of regardless. Thus, LeBron scored 41 AGAIN along with 23 from Kyrie with a roaring home crowd to force a Game 7, 115-101.
Game 7 had those aforementioned generational plays that we will tell our grandchildren about. But remember, it took an entire game on the road of wire-to-wire basketball to even get to that point.
But, the Cavs had done it. The only team ever to comeback from down 3-1 in the NBA Finals and win it.
Here in 2019, those very Warriors were faced with a similar situation against Toronto, except being on the opposite end. Injuries to Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Demarcus Cousins hindered their ability to perform at quite the elite level we had known the Warriors to dominate at.
The Warriors did take Game 2 on the road, which made it a 1-1 series. KD got hurt and nothing was the same. The Raptors impressively, led by Kawhi Leonard, ripped off two-straight wins on the road to make it a 3-1 series.
Now, Game 5 was close. Amazingly, the Warriors won 106-105 in a thriller and everyone started to get that feeling in their heads about 3-1 and comebacks because of what the Cavs did. Yet only one of the three remaining games had occurred…
Game 6, back in Oakland, was one many thought the Warriors would have a real good chance to win (just like the Cavs were the favorite at home). It wouldn’t be so as the Raptors won it all, on the road, with a 114-110 victory.
The first championship in Toronto Raptors’ history. Kawhi also becomes the first player to win NBA Finals MVP in both conferences (with Spurs).
Frankly, the morale of the story is the Warriors couldn’t do what the Cavs did to them back in 2016. It is a reminder of how absolutely incredible that entire series was and how well certain moments will always be celebrated, it was the process that won it all for the Cavs and could not be duplicated by the very team it took down just three years ago.
Hopefully, the Cavs will be back to competing for titles in the coming years…