The Greatest Comeback in Sports History


Cooper Rice, Sports

There are many memorable moments in the history of the NBA, Jordan’s flu game, Kawhi Leonard’s corner three, and Allen Iverson’s step-over. But the 2016 NBA Finals and Lebron’s block may top all of those occasions. This year was a rematch of the 2015 Finals with the Golden State Warriors playing the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Warriors favored to win back to back championships going 73-9 in the regular season. 

The Warriors had home court advantage in this series because of their phenomenal regular season record. They quickly jumped to 2-0 in the series winning by at least fifteen points in each game, as Lebron James and Kyrie Irving struggled to get shots to fall. The Warriors only needed two more games to win the series and defeat Cleveland once again. Both teams would travel back to Cleveland where disaster struck for the Cavaliers. They lost one of the games on their home court meaning that all Golden State had to do was win one more game to finish them off. At this point there had never been a team to win a finals series after being down 3-1. Everyone doubted their ability to win, saying it was impossible. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said this about Lebron after game 4, “People have feelings, and people’s feelings get hurt even if they are called a bad word. I guess his feelings just got hurt.” Lebron proceeded to laugh about this in an interview, but it lit a fire under him for the rest of the series. 

But the Cavs had one saving grace, the NBA league office reviewed game four of the finals and decided that Warriors star Draymond Green should have been given a flagrant 1 foul. This was his third flagrant violation of the postseason, and he would be suspended for game 5 on the Warriors home court. Going back to Golden State the stars of the Cavaliers played out of their minds, with Kyrie and Lebron scoring 41 points each and beating the Warriors by 15 saving them from elimination. Game 6 was a very physical game with some back and forth between the players. Warriors star Stephen Curry was ejected after he threw his mouthpiece into the stands when fouling out. The Cavs won this game after Lebron put up another 41 point performance at home, this meant that the series was going to the seventh game in Golden State. 

Going into game seven there was an immense amount of pressure on both teams to win this series. The game was very physical and intense from the jump, with a lot of defense and slow offense. The warriors were able to take a 7 point lead at half time, and it looked like the Cavs may have come all the way back for nothing. But they weren’t done yet, cutting that lead to 1 by the end of the third quarter. It had all come down to this and both teams were going to leave it all out on the court. Each team was matching the score of the other, keeping it within 4 points for all of the fourth quarter. 

With five minutes left the teams were tied at 89 each, but for the next four minutes of the game neither team could buy a bucket. The Warriors had a 2 on 1 fastbreak with just less than two minutes left in the game but out of nowhere came Lebron James with  a miraculous block to stop them. With less than a minute left in the game Kyrie Irving hit a step back three over Curry to give the Cavs a 3 point lead. The Cavs continued to make defensive stops for the rest of the game and won the game 93-89. When asked about the impact of the Cavs comeback Farmington High Senior Tanner Covington said this, “It had a huge impact on sports culture, because it showed that a series is never really over. If the Cavs can come back after down 3-1 to the team with the best record in NBA history, so can any team that is losing a series across any sport.” The Cavaliers led by Lebron James had the greatest comeback in sports history in 2016 defeating the monster that was the Golden State Warriors.