LeBron James added an impressive feat to his resume after guiding the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship in the 2016 Finals. It came in historic fashion with the Cavaliers overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. James was the driving force to the team’s incredible push in the final three games of the series to capture the NBA title. One of James’ former teammates recently opened up about a surprising detail concerning the Cavaliers during that series.
LeBron James leds Cavs on historic Finals comeback
The Cavaliers entered the 2016 NBA Finals as underdogs to the Warriors, who were putting together a historic campaign.
Following winning a record 73 regular-season games, Golden State had come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. That saw them take care of business through the first four games of the Finals, holding a 3-1 series lead.
Things trekked in the opposite direction from that point on, with the Cavaliers taking control of the series with James heading the charge. Cleveland played like a different team in the final three games, securing back-to-back double-digit wins in Games 5 and 6. That was capped by an impressive road win Game 7 that saw them become the first time to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals.
Richard Jefferson says Cavs were surprisingly calm
It a series that could have quickly headed in the Warriors’ direction convincingly, but the Cavaliers were never unhinged.
That’s something that former forward Richard Jefferson voiced in an interview with Scoop B Radio as he stated it was the team’s calmness during that stretch that pulled them through to achieve that comeback. (H/T Essentially Sports)
“I think the camaraderie of the team, the calmness and just the leadership of the team,” he said. “I think people would be just totally blown away by those three things and be shocked by what they see.”
The Cavaliers had their backs against the wall, but they never played like a team that lacked confidence in their ability. James was undoubtedly a huge reason for their success, but it was the Cavaliers embracing that they were the underdog and taking that challenge head-on.
Once it reached the point where they put doubt in the Warriors’ mind along with factors like Draymond Green getting a one-game suspension work in their favor, it helped them guide forward.
LeBron James added another notch to his legacy
That may have been the case, but it’s hard to ignore the impressive production that LeBron James put forth in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Yes, Kyrie Irvin and Kevin Love stepped up when it mattered most, but it was James that was the dominant factor throughout the series. He averaged a near triple-double with 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks in the seven-game series.
James had a stellar outing in Game 7 with a triple-double effort with 27 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. He’s the only player to lead both teams in points, rebounds, and assists in an NBA Finals. Beyond that, it added another impressive feat on James’ resume to do something that no other player has done in league history.
James guided his team back from the brink of elimination against a 73-win Warriors’ squad. There is ground for him to make up in his push toward topping Michael Jordan in the greatest of all-time conversation, but it was a tremendous boost in the right direction.