It’s hard to forget the epic rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. For four consecutive seasons between 2015 and 2018, the two basketball behemoths faced off in the NBA Finals, and each series had its fair share of talking points.
In the end, it was the California-based outfit that pulled away throughout the final two series, but the Cavaliers certainly had their moments. Their maiden NBA Finals triumph in 2016 will live forever in the memory of not only Cavs fans, but the city of Cleveland as a whole. The series had it all – drama, superstars, and an unforgettable ending.
But what made this triumph so special was that it was led by their returning superstar, LeBron James. King James had risen to prominence in Cleveland throughout the 2000s, however, he never managed to win that elusive championship ring. He would find that success with the Miami Heat, winning back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, before returning home to his beloved Cavs.
The Current Campaign
This season, it will take a herculean from LeBron – who now turns out for the Los Angeles Lakers – if he is to feature in the postseason. The Cavs meanwhile have a great chance of reaching the playoffs and are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 39 wins and 26 losses. Bovada’s March Madness odds currently make the Boston Celtics the favorites to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the campaign – despite them losing the top spot on the East Coast to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.
And it isn’t just the NBA where March Madness is running rampant. Bovada is offering a whole host of offers and specials on the ongoing NCAA Basketball tournament, and they have given Houston a price of +700 to win the competition this season. The Final Four of the competition begins on April 1st, so if you fancy the Cougars to lift their maiden championship – just as the Cavs did in 2016 – head on over to Bovada and see their March Madness campaign in its entirety.
Everybody remembers where they were when the Cavaliers won their first championship in 2016, with LeBron James front and center, as always, making history. For sports fans, that moment cemented our faith in the power of team chemistry, perseverance, and good old-fashioned hard work.
It’s been nearly seven years since the iconic final game of the Finals, one of the tightest games in championship history. With the Cavs potentially returning to the playoffs for the first time since LeBron’s departure, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look back on how one man changed an entire franchise – and a city.
LeBron’s Return to Cleveland
The run to glory began in 2014 when LeBron decided to return home after four seasons with the Miami Heat. His arrival marked a turning point for the franchise as they went from perennial cellar-dwellers to serious contenders in the Eastern Conference. But despite making it all the way to the 2015 NBA Finals in LeBron’s first campaign back with the team, they were unable to overcome the Golden State Warriors – a team who were just becoming the dynasty that they are today – who won their first championship since 1975.
Regular Season Success
With a chip on their shoulder, the Cavs went into 2015-16 with something to prove. They dominated throughout regular season play, becoming only one of two teams in the Eastern Conference – with the Toronto Raptors being the other – to end up with more than 50 wins. The Ohio-based outfit finished with the third-best record overall, behind the reigning champion Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.
With the Warriors posting up an unbelievable regular season record of 73 wins against just nine losses, it was no surprise that their shooting sensation Steph Curry was named the MVP that season. But LeBron and the Cavs wouldn’t be deterred.
With momentum from regular season success behind them, The Cavs steamrolled through the playoffs. They didn’t lose a single game until the Conference finals, sweeping both the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks by scores of four to zero. They would face a sterner test in the conference championships, however, they would eventually triumph by four games to two against the Raptors.
That victory meant that they reached their second straight NBA finals, and they were once again set to face off against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were looking for back-to-back championships but were met with resistance from Cleveland at every turn as they pushed them to seven games – something no other team had done in three years of dominance by Golden State led by Steph Curry.
With everything on the line in Game 7, Kyrie Irving stepped up huge with an epic performance that included 26 points and six assists while LeBron added 27 points and 11 rebounds as they pulled off an improbable underdog victory over one of the greatest basketball teams ever assembled. Game 7 would take place on enemy territory, but it was LeBron and co. that held their nerve, eventually winning by a score of 93-89 to taste NBA success for the first time in franchise history.