History To Be Made

The Biggest Choke In NBA History

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Photo: SB Nation

Sean Nickol, Staff Writer

Four years ago, the Golden State Warriors set the regular-season record of 73 wins. The success only for the first ever unanimous NBA MVP, Stephen Curry to choke the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors went up against the 57 win Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven game series that realistically should’ve ended in five.

The Warriors weren’t a bad team, nor did they really choke the series. However, the Cavs just played harder and better to win. The Cavs, with their backs against the wall, defied the odds. The Finals prior, starters Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love suffered from the injury bug that the Cavs had to deal with in the Finals of 2015. Love got injured in Game 4 of the first round against the Celtics, just to then lose Irving in the Game 1 of the 2015 finals. Bleacher Report reported, “I’m more or less the voice of reason. I’m always gonna be a straight shooter with everyone and give them my honest opinion. Obviously, we had a great thing in Cleveland. We dealt with everything together. I felt like we would have definitely won an NBA championship if everyone was healthy. But almost doesn’t count.” Irving said on The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal.

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Photo: NBA

The Warriors won the 2015 Finals (4-2), setting up a three year series for 2015, 2016, and 2017. So in the 2016 Finals, the Cavs were healthy and the Warriors were healthy, it just made for a great rematch. Both teams played their best basketball of the season, especially the Cavs in the last three games.

Golden State took the series early, jumping to 1-0. Shaun Livingston owned the game, scoring twenty points. He scored as much as teammates Curry and Klay Thompson combined. The Cavs’ bench didn’t do much to help the starters, Livingston doubling their amount of points. The Warriors won, 104-89.

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Photo: The Golden State Of Mind

Draymond Green in Game 2 decided to show up, pushing the series in the Warriors favor with the game high of 28 points. Adding insult to injury, the Cavs lost Kevin Love due to a concussion. Love missed the second half of Game 2 and missed Game 3 altogether. The Warriors dominated again, 110-77.

Going into Game 3, the Cavs weren’t looking so good. The third game being in Cleveland gave the Cavs a homecourt advantage, and they took advantage. Cleveland beat Golden State, 120-90. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were mainly the reason the Cavs beat the Warriors, besides the Cavs gameplan of getting ahead early. With Love out for game three, LeBron and Irving put the team on their backs, scoring 62 points combined.

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Photo: Cavaliers Nation

 

A quiet Stephen Curry shouted from the mountain top, scoring 38 points in the Warriors third and final win on the Cavs, winning 108-97. Green in Game 4 nearly scuffled with LeBron. Green earned a flagrant foul and was suspended for Game 5. The altercation started when LeBron attempted and failed to step over Green when he was on the floor. Green would proceed to take it further and fired a swat at LeBron’s groin. Green has been known to do this in these situations, according to SBNation.

When their backs were against the wall, the Cavs started to show their perseverance. Green got suspended the previous game and that gave the Cavs the biggest opportunity in the world to comeback. And they did, LeBron continued his domination in game four, scoring 41 points, getting 16 rebounds for seven assists. Irving also put up 41 in the Cavs victory.

In consistent fashion, LeBron scored 41 points again in game six. The Cavs, finding their groove, made the series go to seven. In Game 6, the Cavs won 115-101. In Game 6 of the Finals, Curry fouled out, putting the Curry family in an outrage. Steph’s wife Ayesha Curry, in response to Curry being fouled out, accused the NBA of being rigged.

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Photo: NBA

Game 7 was the lowest scoring game in the series, the Cavs barley pulling it out 93-89. The drought was over for the city of Cleveland, finally winning a championship since the Cleveland Browns won a championship in 1964. LeBron, in Game 7, set up the picture perfect block on Andre Iguodala, on top of his triple double. LeBron scored 27 points, for 11 assists, and 11 rebounds.

The 2016 Finals is mainly remembered every March 1 as one of the biggest chokes in sports history. The Cleveland Indians later that year also blew a 3-1 lead but to the Chicago Cubs.