The Golden State Warriors have a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have the best player in the world (sorry, Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce).
So, don’t crown the Dubs NBA champions quite yet.
Yes, the odds are stacked against the Cavs, even after their 137-116 blowout win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena. Only three teams in NBA history have forced a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0, and none of them went on to win their respective series. And those teams weren’t facing one of the greatest basketball teams of all time with Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all in the starting lineup.
But those teams also didn’t have LeBron James, who still is the best basketball player in the world, and one of the best of all time, too. Even his detractors had to look on in awe Friday night as he recorded his ninth Finals triple-double, which pushed him past Magic Johnson for the most in history, with his 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He also jumped over Michael Jordan for third on the all-time NBA Finals scoring list, and he passed Jordan for the most made free throws ever in the playoffs.
And if the Kyrie Irving of Games 3 and 4 shows up for the rest of the NBA Finals, who knows what could happen.
James wasn’t the only one setting records Friday night, though. The Cavs as a whole had a performance that will live in the history books for quite some time. Cleveland couldn’t have played much better on offense in the first half, as they set Finals records with 49 first-quarter points (single-quarter scoring record) and 86 first-half points.
And then there were the 3-pointers, which made a huge difference for the Cavs. Cleveland shot a dreadful 27.3 percent and made 12 of 44 shots from distance in a crushing Game 3 loss, but it shot 53.3 (!) percent from beyond the arc Friday and set a new NBA Finals record with 24 made 3-pointers.
Talk about historic. And coming back from a 3-0 deficit would be historic to the tenth degree.
The Cavaliers already accomplished a somewhat similar feat against the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals when they overcame a 3-1 series deficit to claim their first title in franchise history. But this would be a whole different story.
But, as former Boston Red Sox Kevin Millar likely would say in this situation, “Don’t let the Cavs win tonight.” You know what can happen after that.
And Cleveland has an incredible record-breaking performance to thank for that chance.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images