In the years between 2014 and 2018, there were only some things that were always guaranteed. A day lasting 24 hours, a tomato being red and the Golden State Warriors and The Cleveland Cavaliers playing in the NBA Finals. It did not matter who signed which team in those 4 years. The Cavs and the Warriors were going to play in the NBA Finals.
What is the history of this modern day rivalry?
Looking Back at The Cleveland Cavaliers Spectacular Run from 2014-2018 ?
The short answer to this question? Lebron James. In 2014, LeBron James was fresh off a finals loss whilst he was part of the Heat. In his 4 years there, Lebron broke his cold spell and won 2 titles. But he was not done. He wanted to bring the same happiness and pride he had to his home state.
So in the summer of 2014, he signed back with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And he did not come alone but brought in Kevin Love on a team which already had Kyrie Irving. In their first season they won 53 games. They thought they would go on to win the NBA Finals but lost Kevin Love in the first series due to injury. He did not return and that really cost the Cavaliers, mostly in the NBA Finals.
After losing that year, the decided to come back stronger next season. They won 57 games and lost just 2 games in the first 3 series. But in the Finals they were set to play the best team in regular season history. The Warriors won 73 games, most all time and the clear favorites to win the NBA title. The Warriors were up 3-1. That turned out to be the greatest comeback in Finals History as the Cavaliers came back and won the title for the first time in franchise history.
After that the Warriors signed Kevin Durant to the best team in NBA History and Kyrie Irving also eventually left the Cavs. That made sure the Cavs had no chance at all. In the 2 Finals appearance they won just 1 game in both years. After that even Lebron James left the Cavs and they haven’t even made the playoffs since his departure.
How did The Golden State Warriors Rule the NBA for Half a Decade?
Mark Jackson sowed the seeds for one of the greatest teams in the modern NBA. The way Stephen Curry not only blossomed into an all time great but also changed the entire way the game was played. Klay Thompson turned into one of the greatest shooters of all time. Draymond Green was the perfect player to compliment these 2 as he literally turned into DPOY.
The Golden State Warriors went from getting eliminated in the first round to winning 67 games and had the best net rating in the NBA. They beat the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Rockets and Cavaliers to win their first NBA Title and began their dynasty.
Even though 60+ wins was an amazing milestone, the next year, they won 73. That was the most games won in regular season history. Their run in NBA Playoffs was really amazing as they came back from down 3-1 to the OKC Thunder. However, they went on to choke a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers in the Finals. But the loss of the WCF affected KD a lot, which led to him joining the Warriors in the following season.
That made the Warriors unstoppable. They completely dominated the next 2 season and built their dynasty. It felt like no one could beat them. Except the one year that they played the Raptors and lost both KD and Klay Thompson to freak injuries. Since then they haven’t been good and really needed Klay to be competitive again.
Since then, we haven’t seen the same 2 teams in consecutive NBA Finals. This matchup could be put in the list with the Celtics-Lakers and Bulls-Pistons in rivalries. Will we ever see a Rivalry like this again in the modern NBA?