AFTER an epic seven-game finals series last June, the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2015 champion Golden State Warriors will square off 189 days later on Christmas Day at 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC, one of five games televised by ABC and ESPN on Dec. 25.
As the two first-place teams prepare for their first meeting since the Cavaliers’ thrilling 93-89 victory in Game 7 on June 19 at Oracle Arena, here are seven memorable notes from The Finals 2016:
• The Cavaliers became the first team in league history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win The Finals, earning their first NBA championship and ending a 52-year title drought for major pro sports teams in Cleveland.
• The Cavaliers and Warriors each scored a total of 610 points in Games 1-6 (101.7 per game). The Cavaliers’ four-point victory in Game 7 made the final tally 703-699.
• The seven-game series was the most-watched Finals in ABC history as well as the most-watched overall since 1998, averaging 20,215,000 viewers per game. Game 7 averaged 31,018,000 viewers—peaking with 44,807,000 viewers—the third-most-watched NBA game on record.
• LeBron James produced a historic series. He became the first player in any playoff series to lead all players in points (29.7), rebounds (11.3), assists (8.9), steals (2.57) and blocks (2.29). James also joined Kyrie Irving as the first pair of teammates to score at least 40 points each in a Finals game (both had 41 in Game 5), and LeBron followed the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jerry West (1969 vs. Boston Celtics) and the Lakers’ James Worthy (1988 vs. Detroit Pistons) as the third player to register a triple-double in Game 7 of The Finals.
• The Warriors capped their unprecedented season of three-point shooting with several long-range records in The Finals. Golden State established a playoff record for three-pointers made (94) and attempted (252) in any series, while Stephen Curry set a Finals record and matched his own playoff series record with 32 threes made.
• Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue achieved the same thing in The Finals 2016 that Golden State’s Steve Kerr did in 2015: win a championship in his first season as an NBA head coach. Before Lue and Kerr, no first-year NBA head coach had accomplished the feat since Pat Riley with the 1981-82 Lakers.
• Golden State’s Draymond Green turned in one of the greatest performances ever in a Finals Game 7, finishing with 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. The only other player to post at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in Game 7 of The Finals is James Worthy, who had 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for the Lakers against the Pistons in 1988.