For the first time in NBA history, the same two teams have met up for three consecutive Finals appearances as the Golden State Warriors take a familiar (2-0) series lead over the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The rivalry began in the 2014-2015 season when the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-2) in the Finals to put the Golden Lining on their historic 73-9 championship run.
Despite having Kyrie Irving and newly-acquired Kevin Love out on injury, Cleveland was able to avoid the sweep, but not the rampage of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – The Splash Brothers – who drilled a combined total of 525 three-pointers and setting the new single season record of threes made by two teammates.
Many anticipated the 2015-2016 rematch due to the injury-plagued Cavaliers’ unit of the previous season. Right when it appeared as if Golden State would become back-to-back champs with a massive 3-1 series lead, Lebron James crafted an epic performance that stamped Cleveland’s legacy as the first team ever to come back from 3-1 to claim the city’s first NBA Finals Trophy.
This year’s rubber match should silence the critics as to who truly is the better team. Thus far, the home team has protected the hardwood.
In the first game, newly-added Kevin Durant put up 38 points in 38 minutes aside from distributing eight assists and snatching down nine rebounds. Golden State outscored Cleveland in every single quarter for the 113-91 game one win.
In the second barnburner game, the scoreboard read 67-64 Golden State at half time. James’ triple-double (29 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists) was insufficient as Durant’s game-high score of 33 points and Curry’s version of the triple-double (32 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists) helped the Warriors pull away in the second half for the 132-113 victory.
Now the series moves to Cleveland June 7 at 6:00 p.m. for a pivotal game three. Golden State can take a lead even greater than that of last season at 3-0 if they can steal the road game at Quicken Loans Arena in Ohio, or they can find themselves in a 2-1 slugfest if the Cavaliers can hold suit.
Game four will be June 9 at 6:00 p.m. and then if necessary, games five, six, and seven are slated for June 12 at 6:00 p.m., June 15 at 6:00 p.m., and June 18 at 5:00 p.m.
It is highly uncommon in any sport for a team to make it back from a 3-0 deficit in a post season or championship series. The last time was in 2014 when the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks in the NHL Western Conference Quarter Finals. The Boston Red Sox did it as well in the 2004 MLB American League Championship Series over the New York Yankees.