When it comes to hard-fought NBA championships, the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers win over the Golden State Warriors ranks right up there alongside the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 ring.
The Cavs had to fight back from 3-1 down in the NBA Finals against the 73-9 Warriors to win their first ever championship and LeBron James’ third.
The previous round against the Toronto Raptors, however, was far easier, as the Cavaliers cruised to a 4-2 series win over the Raps in the Eastern Conference Finals.
It was so easy in fact, that head coach Ty Lue had to tell the Cavaliers to stop partying and start playing during the series, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.
Tyronn Lue says the Cavs are about ‘wins and lessons’ this year because they’re young. But every season’s like that — including the 2016 conference finals, when he had to tell his team to quit partying and play https://t.co/Cn5zHkwiyz
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) September 26, 2018
If you want some insight into how easy the Cavs were taking the Raptors that year, take a look at this soundbyte from LeBron James.
“Well, the Cavs came home and won Game 5 by, let’s see here, 38(!!), and LeBron famously said: “I’ve been a part of some really adverse situations, and I just didn’t believe that this (being tied 2-2 with the Raptors) was one of them.”
When you’re tied 2-2 in a series, two wins away from the NBA Finals, and feel like the other team doesn’t offer a threat whatsoever to you, it may be time to be taking things more seriously.
Cleveland eventually did get out of party mode, even if it took them four games into the NBA Finals to do so, and will forever have that 2016 NBA championship banner hanging in Quicken Loans Arena as evidence of that.