Not the one as National Basketball Association champions. They did what needed to be done to improve their team and it was specifically for moments like this one. But in the interest of thoroughness, the Warriors in 2016 went 73-9 with the first unanimous MVP in league history (Steph Curry) and then blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Golden State sank an NBA Finals record nine 3-pointers in the first quarter, four of them by Thompson, who scored 16 points in the opening period.
Asked if he thought the Warriors had taken the best shot Cleveland had to give, James said, “It’s so hard to say, but for me personally, I gave everything I had, so win, lose or draw you live with the results”.
Back to Golden State and their date with history.
That’s the difference between the two teams. The Warriors added Durant last summer and made themselves unbeatable.
Some people may argue their greatness, but James won’t.
“I’m not making a change”, he said. They’re a juggernaut of a team, do a great job of spacing out the floor, keeping a high tempo and just made some big-time plays down the stretch. “We missed some shots, and they made some”. And it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen, with the Cavaliers up 113-111 with just over a minute left to play.
They all are, at this point – and it shows, as the Warriors seem determined not just to avenge last year’s loss in the Finals but also leave an indelible mark in the process. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers still have some guy named LeBron James playing small forward for them.
Cleveland nearly had this one, and they probably should have won.
James and Kyrie Irving combined for 77 points, dominating much of the second half, but even their electrifying performance was not enough to put a blemish on the Warriors’ ideal record.
On the next possession, Irving tried to go to work on Thompson, eventually finding himself on that same spot on the right wing where he won the NBA Finals a year ago.
Certainly, no team has ever enjoyed a trio of shooters like Durant, Curry, and Thompson. Even the Cavaliers must at this point, after watching a late fourth-quarter lead evaporate in a 118-113 loss in Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Irving and James went virtually wire to wire, with Warriors coach Steve Kerr suggesting they simply got gassed. You can see the back and forth in the video below. Curry, victor of the last two MVP awards, is fully healthy after struggling through last year’s Finals. Should the Warriors stay healthy and together – and it would cost them enormously in salaries and taxes – they should be a title threat every year.
They very easily could be playing for a third straight championship. “I’ll probably be replaying that play for a while”.
Leading 113-111 heading into the final minute, Cavaliers shooter Kyle Korver missed a triple, giving Golden State a chance to tie it up or take the lead on the next possession. “They have their youth, they have their health”.
Back home in Cleveland, LeBron and company are going to want to reassure fans early that they are going to be in this game.