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Jun 1, 2017
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Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow's NBA Finals, especially with how insanely loaded the rivaling teams are this time around.

Aside from that, the historic series will have 3 Most Valuable Player awardees (who account for 7 of the last 8 trophies), 8 past and present All-NBAers, and 5 Three-Point Contest winners—don't forget James Jones in 2011.

But what really makes this third battle between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors a compelling narrative are the highlights from the first two times they met in the Promised Land.

Dunks out of nowhere, otherworldly individual performances, game-changing clutch plays—the 2015 and 2016 NBA Finals were classic prequels for the latest chapter of this basketball championship trilogy.


Church of Delly

Will the Cavs miss Matthew Dellavadova? The frenetic Aussie, who is now a Buck, was infamous for being the "Curry stopper"—at least for a couple of games—two years ago. Plus, he can do stuff like this:


Festus ridiculous

So far, JaVale Mcgee and David West have been impressive in holding the fort as big men off the GSW bench. We have yet to see, though, if the two can match the intensity of Festus Ezeli (Portland Trail Blazer) had brought to the frontcourt.


Stephen Curry gets Delly back

Steph didn't like the talk of Dellavadova successfully guarding him, so he went on and destroyed his man in Game 5, to the tune of 37 points on 7-of-13 three-point shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, including this sweet crossover sequence (0:37 mark):


Bad News Barnes

Kevin Durant is easily a major upgrade over Harrison Barnes, but the crowd at the Oracle Arena will miss the sight of the latter (Dallas) humiliating defenders above the rim. Timofey Mozgov was never the same again after this poster:


Finals MVP

Before he found himself on the wrong end of an iconic highlight, Andre Iguodala made the best play every time he touched the ball. His 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals were enough to lead his team to the title in 2015.


LeBron + Kyrie = 82

Fast forward to the finals rematch, Cleveland's Batman and Robin were faced with a supposedly insurmountable 3-1 deficit. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving turned into the Dark Knight duo and scored 41 points each to set the stage for a seemingly impossible upset.


'Irving back to James!'

LeBron had a few memorable alley-oops in both series, whether he's passing or the receiving, but this one epitomized him being in his athletic prime even at 31 year olds. Just look at that extension:

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Draymond Green's revenge Game 7

The versatile forward almost willed his team to victory, putting up 32 points (6-8 3P), 15 rebounds, and 9 assists during the clincher. It was like Green made up for his lack of production after getting suspended for the decisive Game 5.


Kyrie FTW

After not being able to help his team the previous year due to injury, Irving fittingly sealed the deal for the Cavaliers' first championship. An image that will haunt Stephen Curry and every Golden State Warriors fan in attendance forever:

 


'The Block'

This is the play that fulfilled his promise to an ill-fated city silenced those who were criticizing him for not being a "clutch," and maybe even defined his legacy.

"Iguodala to Curry, back to Iguodala, up for the layup! Oh! Blocked by James! LeBron James with the rejection!" —Mike Breen, ESPN

 

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