Posted on June 18, 2016, by Travis Pulver
The NBA Finals have not had a game that was close from start to finish, but the series has been full of drama and storylines worth following throughout—and the best is yet to come. Come Sunday when the two teams meet in Oakland for an unexpected and decisive Game Seven there is an excellent chance that history could be made.
The Cleveland Cavaliers could win.
Only a few teams have ever been able to force a Game Seven in the NBA Finals after falling behind 3-1, but no team has ever completed the comeback and won the game that mattered most. With how the two teams have been playing over the last few games, it is not hard to see Golden State falling to the Cavaliers.
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The Warriors have not looked like the team that set a new single-season win record throughout the Series. They could turn it on when it matters most, of course, but they have not given fans any reason to believe they will. Doing so in Game Five would have made sense—but they didn’t. It would have made sense for them to do it in Game Six too—but they didn’t.
So why should anyone believe they are going to do it now?
Cleveland, on the other hand, has been doing whatever it takes—which means let LeBron James and Kyrie Irving do whatever they feel like doing. There may not be much strategy to it, but it’s worked. The Cavaliers dynamic duo has been shouldering the load and getting just enough from the rest of the team to overcome a pair of weak efforts by the Warriors.
Should the trend continue on Sunday in Game Seven, the Cavaliers will end the championship drought for the City of Cleveland and become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit and win the Finals.
However, history does not favor them and not just because no team has overcome the deficit before.
Since 1984 only, 13 road teams have won a Game Seven in any round of the playoffs. In Finals history, the home team has won 15 of 18 Game Sevens. The three road to wins where the Washington Bullets in 1978, the Boston Celtics in 1974, and the Celtics in 1969.
This postseason there have been four Game Sevens played–all won by the home team.
The team with the reigning regular season MVP on the roster has won the last 18 Game Sevens.
As nice as it is to say history is on their side, the Warriors certainly can’t expect to win if they don’t play better than they have been. Klay Thompson and Steph Curry can’t miss 23 shots (they missed 46 in Game Five and Six). They can’t allow the Cavaliers to hit 52.5 percent of their shots and make only 38.2 percent of their own and expect to win.
Golden State fans have every reason to be worried, but if ticket sales are any indication they are not. Friday night a new record was set for a non-suite ticket on Stub Hub–$49,500. Another trio was purchased for just under $100,000, and another pair were purchased for $40,775 each.
Either these people have money to burn or they are supremely confident that history will do what it does.