Tonight, the third installment of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will take place in the NBA Finals with Game 1 set to begin in Oracle Arena. After a long layoff, both teams and fans are ready to see who will come out victorious. With a rivalry that the NBA has not witnessed in years, it is important to remember how these teams have come to face each other in the Finals for the third straight year.
2015 NBA Finals
Playing without Kevin Love due to a dislocated shoulder he suffered earlier in the playoffs and losing Kyrie Irving in Game 1 to a fractured kneecap, the Cavaliers were seriously undermanned in their first matchup with a Warriors team that arrived on the scene, led by MVP winner Steph Curry. LeBron James gave a herculean effort, averaging 35.8 points per game and pushing the series to six games, but the Warriors would prove to be too much for the Cavs and take the Larry O’Brien trophy.
2016 NBA Finals
In 2016, the Cavaliers, with their full arsenal, came back to right their wrongs against the defending champion Warriors. The Warriors swept through the regular season with a 73-9 record, breaking the record for most victories in a regular season and drawing comparisons to the 95-96 Chicago Bulls team that finished with a 72-10 record. Looking at a 3-1 deficit and on the brink of elimination, the duo of James and Irving came together to lead the Cavaliers out of the hole and pull off an improbable comeback. The Cavaliers were aided by a Draymond Green suspension in Game 5 and a hobbled Curry throughout the series, but James and Irving saved their best for last in Game 7, with a chase-down block late in the game by James, and the go-ahead three-pointer by Irving.
And now, these titans will clash again for the third straight year, the first time it has ever happened in NBA history.