The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first championship in franchise history on June 19, 2016, when they defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the Finals. As a result, they became the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from a 3-1 series deficit.
The Warriors were on their way to winning back-to-back titles after winning three of their first four games. At this point in NBA Finals history, no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in a series. However, no team that faced this fate had LeBron James on its team, either.
LeBron James alongside teammate Kyrie Irving went off, performing at a phenomenally high level, James and Irving each scored 41 points in game 5. After Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5, the Warriors’ rhythm was broken. After being humiliated by James, Green punched him in the groin, and James stepped over him after he fell to the ground.
Green had committed his fourth flagrant foul of the playoffs, resulting in an automatic ban. The Cavaliers won Game 6 115-101, with James leading all scorers with 41 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. Cleveland had a 31-11 lead after the first quarter. After winning Game 6, the Cavaliers proceeded to force a game 7.
In just 47 minutes, James had 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals, and three blocks to lead Cleveland. In 43 minutes, Irving scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds. Draymond Green led the Warriors with a 32-point performance, including six 3-pointers on eight attempts.
Curry and Klay Thompson struggled from 3-point range, shooting only 6-of-24. Many conversations were heating up on whether Stephen Curry was the best player in NBA history. If the Warriors lost, their 73-9 historic season would be tarnished, and the Cavaliers would be seen as the greatest team ever.
During the last few minutes in the fourth quarter, both warriors and cavaliers couldn’t manage to get a point until Kyrie Irving hit an insane clutch three-pointer over Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson only dropped 14 points against the Cavaliers in game 7. With 10.6 seconds left, James split free throws to make it a two-possession game, putting the finishing touches on a thrilling Finals game and series. This series was filled with historic moments from both defensive and offensive standpoints.
Kyrie Irving’s clutch step-back three and LeBron James’ chase-down block on Andre Iguodala would never be forgotten. With all odds against the Cavaliers, they ended up winning the game 93-89 and kept the NBA’s greatest team scoreless for the remaining fourth quarter to end their city’s 52-year championship curse and are known for completing the greatest comeback of all time.
After that day, the warriors were known for blowing a 3-1 lead, and can be arguably said that LeBron is the greatest basketball player of all time. Since this series, the Cavaliers have struggled to make it back to the NBA finals again, but they left NBA with the greatest NBA finals in history.