The biggest comeback in NBA history came from the Cleveland Cavaliers after they trailed the Golden State Warriors 3 games to 1. This was also the first time that a team had come back from such a large deficit to win an NBA Finals series. The game happened on June 19, 2016.
The Golden State Warriors were the defending champions when the finals started on June 2, 2016. The team beat out LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers by taking a decisive 3-1 lead in games won in the best of seven series. When this happened, it was only the 10th time that a team had lost the first 3 games in NBA finals.
Prior to game four, many critics said it was over for the Cavaliers because no team had ever come back from such a large deficit (3-1) to win an NBA Finals series. The game took place on June 8
There were many factors that led to this amazing feat, but one of them was Coach Tyronn Lue’s decision to bench Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for Game 4. It was one of those rare occasions where a coach made a change at halftime, and it changed everything about the game.
“When we got into our locker room, I told them nobody on this team has been here before, so if you want something different, you’re going to have to do it yourself,” Lue said. “Three of us went into the training room and just prayed, but one guy didn’t come in, so I knew that they got the message.”
He also left LeBron James in for all 48 minutes of the game. That’s when they started their comeback. It started with James scoring 41 points and 11 assists. Then Kyrie Irving got hot, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to cut the lead to six points at halftime.
Then in the third quarter, Cleveland managed to outscore Golden State by 17 points, which was the most points scored in any quarter of an NBA Finals game. It was also the first time the Cavaliers had ever won a game coming back from a 3-1 deficit.
“We all kept reminding each other of the bigger picture, that we were two wins away from doing something no one in our franchise had done before,” James said after his team’s victory. “I know I probably didn’t say much more than that.”
Nevertheless, several players came up big. Kyrie Irving finished with 26 points and LeBron James scored 41 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Cleveland. The Cavaliers also managed to hold the league MVP Steph Curry and other top scorers like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to only 37 percent shooting from the field.
It was an amazing win for the Cavs and everyone was happy. Before they won, Cleveland had been facing a lot of criticism for not being able to finish games and missing shots in critical moments of the big game.
Finally, they’ve overcome all of their obstacles, and even though Steph Curry and others will be back next year, LeBron is already thinking about next season: “I’m happy now that I can give them a month and a half, two months of rest. That’s what I’m going to do.”