As Warriors and Cavs meet again, Steve Kerr reveals which was Cleveland's 'best team' during four-year NBA Finals run
Golden State's coach calls the 2017 Cavs the best of their four Finals teams despite losing to the Warriors in five games
The two teams went toe-to-toe in the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons with the Warriors coming out on top in three occasions. In a recent interview, head coach Steve Kerr reveals which Cavaliers squad he felt was "the best team" the Warriors faced in the four years they met in the Finals. Via Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
"The team that I think may have been their best team was the team we beat in five in 2017," Kerr said. "I thought that team was better than the one in 2016 that beat us. Difference was, we had Kevin."
"But Kyrie had fully blossomed into Kyrie by '16, LeBron [James] was at the height of his powers, Love was healthy and rolling, JR [Smith] did his job defensively. They shot so many 3s. Didn't they make 25 threes in Game 4? That series was some of the highest level of basketball ever player in the spot. It was higher level than '16."
The Warriors ended up getting the job done in five games as they won the first three games of the series. However, the Cavaliers came out in Game 4 and put together one of the most spectacular shooting performances that the NBA has ever seen. In a 137-116 win, the Cavaliers hit a mind-numbing 24 threes on the night. LeBron James recorded a triple-double with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds while Kyrie Irving led the way with 40 points and knocked down a game-high seven threes.
Cleveland really flexed its muscles in Game 4 as it outscored the Warriors 49-33 in the opening quarter. In addition, the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors in every single quarter and ended up shooting nearly 53 percent from the field.
The Warriors had rolled through the postseason prior to the NBA Finals that season. In fact, Golden State had swept every single series throughout the Western Conference playoffs that year and the only adversity that it faced came against Cleveland.
While this wasn't the NBA Finals that the Cavaliers were victorious in, Kerr was quick to admit why the 2016 Finals may not have offered the best version of both teams.
"[Because] '16 was a little bit of a slog at times, for both teams," Kerr added. "We didn't have Kevin. We didn't have Draymond for Game 5. It was super physical. All of our off-ball stuff got clogged up. They did a good job of mauling us physically and freeing up LeBron and Kyrie. Last couple games, we didn't have that usual flow."
Following their loss in 2016, the Warriors made a huge splash in free agency when they landed Kevin Durant and added to an already-talented roster. The 2017 version of the NBA Finals was truly an entertaining series despite Golden State coming away with the victory in just five games. If the Cavaliers came away with a win in Game 3 (a 118-113 loss), the series could've been very different and clearly Kerr recognizes how special it was.
While it's no longer a matchup between two heavyweights when the Warriors and Cavs face off tonight (7 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), there should still be plenty of intrigue when both teams, who , meet again.
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