Sunday, June 19, 2016

So much history on the line in the biggest NBA game in over 30 years, maybe ever

The NBA Finals don't give us winner-take-all Game 7s that often--this will be just the fifth in the past 28 years.  Michael Jordan never even played in one.

Tonight's features the two biggest stars in the league, LeBron James and Stephen Curry.  The last time anything like that happened in a one-game showdown for the title was on June 12, 1984, when Larry Bird's Celtics knocked off Magic Johnson's Lakers in the first Finals meeting between the two rivals.  Of course, Magic's Lakers had just recently won it all in 1982, as had Bird's Celtics in 1981.  None of this type of stuff was on the line:

- A Warriors victory makes them arguably the greatest team ever, having won a record 73 games in the regular season.

- A Cavaliers victory makes them the first team ever to win a Finals after being down 3-1, gives the franchise its first NBA championship and the city of Cleveland its first major title in 51+ years, vindicates LeBron for his whole "going back home to win one for the 'Land" thing and (gulp) puts him in the conversation with MJ for greatest player ever (I can't even believe I just said that), in part because he brought his club back from 3-1 against the best regular-season squad of all time while doing this:

That's 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.2 blocks per game--a legendary Finals performance.  Unless his team loses, in which case it becomes an afterthought.

Take a look back at all the Game 7s in Finals history.  It's possible there was a bigger one in the 1950s or 60s, but I doubt it.

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