The Cleveland Cavaliers are down 0-2 in their NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors after a 19-point Game 2 loss on Sunday. Combined, the Cavaliers have lost the first two games of their matchup by a whopping 41 points, a number that’ll make fans of the defending NBA champions cringe.
But recall this: the Cavaliers fell 0-2 in last year’s NBA Finals matchup against the Warriors, as well. And the 41-point combined margin of victory this year falls short of the clip Golden State ran up last year.
Remember: the Cavaliers absorbed a 33-point beatdown in Game 2 of the 2016 NBA Finals. That was the game Draymond Green rattled off 28 points and the Warriors’ bench turned in a magical 40-point performance. Tacking on their 104-89 Game 1 win last season, Golden State won the first two games by a combined 48 points.
We all know how that series ended.
The Cavaliers won four of the next five games, improbably erasing a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA Finals to bring the city of Cleveland its first pro sports championship in more than 50 years. LeBron James claimed Finals MVP, and the Cavaliers won a championship ring on the Warriors’ home court before headed back home for a title-winning parade of epic proportions.
The point: Cleveland’s been here before. The series outlook was worse last season, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that you can’t count LeBron out until the other team is hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Of course, this Warriors team isn’t the same as last year’s.
This one has Kevin Durant, who’s left his mark on both ends of the floor. This one has Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Green, and Andre Iguodala, each with another year of experience and comfort playing alongside one another. And this team’s left an ominous vibe wafting about the Cavaliers’ odds at rallying back.
But if anyone’s good for beating the odds when it matters most, it’d be this Cavaliers team. Why?
Well, they’ve done it before. They just have to do it again, this time against a much better team.