By Ron Griffitts
In summer 2016, the Golden State Warriors (73-9) coached by Steve Kerr and with Bob Myers as their executive met the Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25) coached by Tyronn Lue and with executive David Griffin.
The Warriors were led by Stephen Curry (30.1 ppg, 6.7 apg, 5.4 rpg), Draymond Green (14.0 ppg, 7.4 apg, 9.5 rpg), Klay Thompson (22.1 ppg), Harrison Barnes (11.7 ppg. 4.9 rpg) and Andrew Bogut (7.0 rpg) and got to the finals by defeating the Houston Rockets (4-1), Portland Trail Blazers (4-1) and the Oklahoma Thunder (4-3).
The Cavaliers were led by LeBron James (25.3 ppg, 6.8 apg, 7.4 rpg), Kyrie Irving (19.6 ppg, 4.7 apg), Kevin Love (16.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg), J. R. Smith (12.4 ppg), and Tristan Thompson (9.0 rpg) and got past the Detroit Pistons (4-0), Atlanta Hawks (4-0) and the Toronto Raptors (4-2) in the eastern conference finals to get to the championship series.
Game one took place in Oracle Arena in Oakland, California and the Warriors got off to an early lead and led 52-43 at halftime to go on to a 104-89 win and a 1-0 advantage in the series.
Golden State had a balanced attack with seven players scoring in double figures led by Shaun Livingston off the bench with 20 points and Draymond Green with 11 rebounds.
LeBron James led Cleveland with 23 points, 9 assists and 12 rebounds, Kyrie Irving added 26 points, Tristan Thompson had 12 rebounds and Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
In game two, the Warriors continued their mastery over the Cavaliers with a 110-77 win. The Cavs made only 28 of 79 of their field goal attempts and no player had a good game while Golden State was led by Draymond Green with 28 points as the Warriors had a 2-0 advantage as the teams move to Cleveland for game three.
The momentum changed as back home in Quickens Loan Arena the Cavs took a 33-16 first quarter lead and went on to a 120-90 win led by LeBron James with 32 points and 11 rebounds, Kyrie Irving with 30 points and 8 assists, J. R. Smith with 20 points and Tristan Thompson with 13 rebounds.
In game four, Golden State responded with 38 points from Stephen Curry and 25 from Klay Thompson for a 108-97 win as they took a 3-1 lead in the series.
Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 34 points and LeBron James added 25.
For game five, the teams switched back to Oakland and in a close game the Cavs, led by 41 points by both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, outscored the Warriors in the second half for a 112-97 win. LeBron also added 16 rebounds and Tristan Thompson had 15 while Klay Thompson had 37 points and Stephen Curry 25 for Golden State as Cleveland narrowed the series to 3-2.
In game six, the Cavaliers got out to a 31-11 first quarter start and went on to a 115-101 win to tie the series at 3-3 and force a seventh game. LeBron again had 41 points and added 11 assists while Kyrie Irving had 23 points. Stephen Curry had 30 points and Klay Thompson 25 for Golden State.
Game seven in Oakland was a defensive battle as Golden State led 76-75 after three quarters of play. But, Cleveland held them to only 13 points in the fourth quarter and scoreless in the last two minutes of the game on their way to a 93-89 victory in the game and Cleveland’s first NBA championship.
LeBron James led the Cavs with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, Kyrie Irving added 26 points and Kevin Love pulled down 14 rebounds.
Draymond Green led the Warriors with 32 points and 15 rebounds as both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had subpar games.
LeBron James garnered his third championship series MVP award and the Cavs and Warriors were back the next year in the NBA finals.
Statistics for this article were from basketball-reference.com.