The rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2010s was a thing of beauty. The two sides met each other four consecutive times in the NBA Finals, where the Warriors won three out of four times.
Among those battles, the most iconic is without a doubt the 2016 NBA Finals where the Cavaliers made a comeback after being down 3-1. Following that defeat, the Warriors added Kevin Durant to the team, and it was no longer a fair comparison.
The last time the two sides met in the finals was 2018, which turned out to be last season when LeBron James donned a Cavaliers jersey. That year James was a notch above the rest and carried the Cavs to the finals all on his own.
He continued that form in Game 1 of the 2018 finals, accumulating 51 points. Cavs would have probably won that game if it weren't for a huge mistake from JR Smith.
After George Hill failed to secure the game with a free throw, Smith secured the rebound. Apparently, he believed the Cavs were ahead in the score and he proceeded to take the ball away. In reality, the game was tied and James was screaming at Smith to either shoot the ball or pass it to him. The interaction between the two became a popular meme and gave a start to the beginning of the end of LeBron's tenure at the Cavs.
Kevin Durant recently talked about this blunder committed by JR and revealed he was happy about it. And why wouldn't he? It helped him move one step closer to winning the second NBA title of his career.
"I'm happy that he made the decision to do that," Durant revealed in a 2018 interview. "Especially with the game on the line, we needed that win for the sweep."
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Even if JR didn't commit that mistake, it was unlikely that the Cavs stood any chance against that Warriors squad. They were completely stacked and the mistake from Smith was the little push they needed to sweep LeBron and the Cavaliers.
What are your thoughts on KD's comments on the incident? Feel free to let us know your views.