Despite the fact that their journeys to yet another NBA Finals were very almost derailed, one of these squads will again hoist another Larry O'Brien Trophy.
James was in utter disbelief as regulation ended stunningly: George Hill made the first of two free throws with 4.7 seconds left after being fouled by Klay Thompson, but when Smith secured the rebound of the second, he dribbled back toward halfcourt instead of shooting, apparently thinking the Cavs had a lead. It was miss after miss after miss as the cold streak stretched to nine by halftime. Cleveland lost by almost 17 points per game in their three trips to Oracle Arena last season.
"I just don't think Cleveland has the firepower to win shootuts", said Van Gundy. "It doesn't matter who plays, step up".
One, the Rockets sorely missed, yet again, Chris Paul, their high-scoring point guard, whose hamstring injury denied Houston his much-needed double-digit averages on points and assists. Houston won Games 4 and 5 by a combined seven points. Houston could use a better small forward when it comes to those areas, as Trevor Ariza simply didn't get the job done against the Warriors.
"The first half, just our energy defensively was different".
"They're going to bring it", he said. We got our bumps throughout the season.
And just like that, we're down to two. They made tough shots. It hasn't been pretty for much of these playoffs, a far cry from that remarkable, record-breaking 16-1 romp through last year's postseason.
It was a bitter end to a sweet year for Houston. The stars went through funks and the Warriors had to play catch up time and again - including from double-digit deficits in the final two games to beat James Harden and the 65-win Rockets on their home court after settling for the second seed in the West. Hes a big part of what we do. "We had it. We thought we had it".
"We've got a whole city behind us and they are as loyal as they come", Harden said.
Now the Rockets have to figure out what it will take to get over the hump next year.
"It's way too early". "A lot of people don't have that mental capacity to even think about being that great every day, you know what I'm saying?"
Bergin: As much as I want to see Nick "Swaggy P" Young become an National Basketball Association champion, I'd rather see Cleveland Browns safety Damarious Randall have to buy thousands of jerseys if the Cavs win it all.
In the Golden State-Cleveland matchups in 2015 and 2016, the Warriors were minus-220. "We know where we have to go", he said.
"I guarantee if we start the game out like we did (Saturday) and they jump out to the lead, it's going to be 10 times harder to make it a game", Curry said.