Disclaimer: This is not me bashing Cleveland’s win, or defending the Warriors by making excuses. I’m happy the Cavaliers won and thought LeBron pulled off one of the best NBA Finals performances of all-time. There are, however, clear topics for discussion from Games 5 and 6 that may have affected the series’ outcome, which is the basis of this article.
The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA history, as they came back from down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to beat the Golden State Warriors. In one series, they gave the Warriors almost half the amount of losses they took during the entire regular season, and did it in dominating fashion in their first three wins.
However, many NBA fans are upset at some glaring issues that occurred in the second half of the series, and some feel there will forever be an asterisk next to the title win.
To start off, one of the great debates that will go down in league history is whether or not Golden State’s Draymond Green’s suspension for Game 5 was warranted, and if the Warriors would’ve won if he had played. Green proved his worth in Game 7 when he scored 32 points and shot 75% from beyond the ark, and would’ve had a large effect on the game if he had played.
However, in his return in Game 6, the Warriors lost by 14 points in a dominating performance by the Cavaliers and still lost in Game 7 despite his star performance, proving his presence didn’t automatically equal a win. In the end, I think it’s karma for him blowing me off on Boylston Street back in December when I went to ask for a picture, despite me being one of the only Michigan State fans in the whole city of Boston. But I digress.
Next comes the second headline in the series: the referees. Specifically in Game 6, many felt the referees did a lackluster job, mainly when it comes to foul calls on Steph Curry and the Warriors. Curry fouled out for the first time in a long while, and some said the league was just trying to send the series to a Game 7 for the ratings. Steve Kerr was visibly upset with the referees in the game, and called three of the six fouls “absolutely ridiculous.” The usual LeBron hatred will surely come into play in this conversation, and surely some will believe the whole series was rigged.
In the end, in my opinion, it was Steph Curry’s poor performance and inconsistent play that led to the Cavaliers completing a classic comeback in this NBA Finals. The Cavaliers proved in Game 7 that they were a legitimate, championship-caliber team, and LeBron James showed why he is the best basketball player in the world. You may not like LeBron or the team, but you do have to respect what they did in this series.