The last time the Cavaliers played the Warriors, the Warriors won by 34 points. It felt like 134.
A few days later, David Blatt was fired.
Since then, the Cavs have been a different team — especially in the playoffs.
Aside from a couple of meltdowns vs. the Raptors, the Cavs have found a winning formula. They are 12-2 in the postseason under Tyronn Lue, with their Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love finally coming together.
The Cavs are playing with joy.
And as Warriors forward Draymond Green told TNT: “They’re rolling right now.”
That’s the truth. No one has dominated this postseason like these Cavs.
The Warriors? Well, they won a league-record 73 games. They still boast Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Green and a whole conglomerate of Steve Kerr disciples. They pass, they cut, they shoot — man, do they ever shoot.
Yeah, they beat the Cavs by 34.
The Cavs remember that. Man, do they remember that.
They also remember last season’s Finals.
Irving was injured. Love was injured. It was basically LeBron and a bunch of guys who fans outside of Cleveland barely knew: Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert. J.R. Smith and his disappearing act.
Now, the teams are back in the Finals.
Now, the Cavs believe they’re better than ever.
“It’s like somebody drunk the Kool-Aid, because they’re all locked in,” Warriors forward Andre Iguodala said when asked about today’s Cavs.
This isn’t to say the Cavs won’t have their matchup issues. But LeBron James and belief in the system can carry you places. On top of that, the Cavs have suddenly rediscovered themselves on defense.
Of course, the Warriors are rolling again themselves — having overcome a 3-1 deficit vs. the mighty Thunder out West.
So while these Finals are a little different in how the teams arrived, these Finals are also much the same.
It’s the Cavs. It’s the Warriors. It’s the first time two No. 1 seeds actually got this far since 2008.
And this time, they both are riding high.
Neither team would want it any other way. Because whoever wins this series, without a doubt, really is the best.