By Shawn Buck
The 2016 NBA championship between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will be a rematch of last year’s finals. As difficult as it is to get to the title series, it’s rare when both teams from the previous year return to it. When this happens, it makes the finals intriguing to watch. One team has been waiting all the year for a chance to redeem themselves and the other to win another ring. Will it be revenge or a repeat?
Here are some other NBA finals in which the two teams from the year before met again the following year:
In 1983 the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers met in a rematch of the previous year in which the Lakers prevailed 4 games to 2. But this time the Sixers had Moses Malone with them and he made the difference as the Sixers swept the Lakers and help Julius ‘The Doctor” Erving get his first and only NBA championship.
In 1985, the Boston Celtics and the Lakers matched up with one another for second consecutive year. These two have arguably the greatest rivalry in the history of the NBA. But they may have also had the greatest individual rivalry, Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird, as well. In 1984, the Celtics won a thrilling series in 7 games. Magic and Lakers had been waiting for a chance for them all year, but after the Celtics won game one, 148-114, it looked like it would be a repeat of the previous season. The Lakers persevered and came out on top 4-2 in another fascinating series.
In 1989, The Detroit Pistons and Lakers were set to do battle again after they went 7 games in a Laker win to capture the title. It was a war. The sports world was looking forward to this rematch. Unfortunately league MVP Magic Johnson suffered a hamstring injury in game 2 that sidelined him for the rest of the series. The Bad Boys of Detroit went on to sweep the series and capture their first NBA championship.
In 1998, the Chicago Bulls were trying to win their third straight title and beat the Utah Jazz for the second straight year. The Jazz had other plans. Michael Jordan and company proved too much once again and won in 6 games. This would be Jordan’s last game as a Bull as he retired briefly and came back and played for the Washington Wizards.
In 2014, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs collided again after playing in a 7 game series in 2013. The Heat won that one and captured their second straight and third overall. But this time it was different. The Spurs dominated the Heat in 5 games with precise passing and great shooting. This victory gave the Spurs a fifth ring and cemented Tim Duncan’s legacy as one of the greatest players of all time.
What will be the result of this year’s rematch? Will Golden State win back to back and place themselves in the argument as one the best teams of all time after winning 73 games in the regular? Or will Cleveland win their first title and help LeBron James earn his spot as one the greatest players ever? Repeat or revenge, it should be a great final.