5 ways the Cleveland Cavaliers scripted the most improbable Finals comeback in NBA history
LeBron James delivers on his promise of an NBA championship and wins one for the city of Cleveland with a masterful triple-double performance in Game 7 against the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors. And it wasn’t just Game 7; James has been dominating the Finals averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 blocks and 2.3 steals.
The 2016 NBA Championship, the first in Cavaliers’ franchise history also ends the drought for Cleveland’s pro sports teams. The last time a pro sports team from Cleveland were crowned champions was in 1964 when legendary running back Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns won the NFL.
En route to winning this title, the Cavaliers not only gain redemption for last year’s loss in the Finals to the Warriors but also become the first team in league history to clinch the Finals after being down 3-1 at one point.
Here are 5 factors/incidents or performances that shifted the momentum of the series and eventually helped the Cavaliers be crowned the 2016 NBA Champions:
#5 Draymond Green’s suspension gives Cavaliers belief and momentum
The Game 4 loss at home was a gut punch to the Cavaliers’. All the momentum they had gained with the energetic and comprehensive Game 3 win was lost with a sloppy last six minutes defensively to end Game 4. However despite all the negatives, there was one silver lining from Game 4 for the Cavaliers.
With 3 minutes to play, LeBron James and Draymond Green got into a scuffle. Post-game, the league office investigated the altercation and called a technical foul on James and a flagrant 1 on Green for a swipe he made towards James’ groin region. Having accumulated enough flagrant points for a suspension, the Warriors were heading towards a possible close out in Game 5 at home without Green.
The absence of Green gave Cleveland some much-needed life. Green being a key member of all of the Warriors’ small lineups, his absence hurt Golden State’s cause in Game 5. To make matters worse, James and Kyrie Irving combined for 82 points, scoring 41 a piece, and helping the Cavaliers force a Game 6 at home.
All the momentum shifted with this Game 5 win on the road. Cleveland went home for Game 6 believing that if they come out with energy, they can run the Warriors out of the arena with the help of the crowd. With Green struggling in his return from suspension, that’s exactly what happened.
So in essence, it was Green’s suspension that really turned the series for both teams.