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What were once two obscure franchises have become the NBA’s two biggest powerhouses.
The idea of the Cavaliers and Warriors partnering for the NBA’s next great rivalry seemed unlikely—if not laughable—four years ago at this time. The two teams play in different conferences and in cities three time zones apart, and neither have historically been model franchises. Before their first Finals meeting in 2015, the Warriors hadn’t won a championship since 1975, and the Cavs had never won one.
Fast forward four years, and the Cavs and Warriors have become this generation’s Lakers and Celtics. The teams have now met in the NBA Finals in each of the last four seasons, marking the first time that any of the four major sports have had the same championship matchup four times in a row. The four matchups have provided plenty of great moments—and bad blood between the two teams.
Since a Warriors-Cavs Finals matchup is pretty much a given at the end of every season, the teams’ bad blood has often played out on—and off—the court. Whether it’s Draymond Green targeting LeBron’s nether regions in the Finals or the Cavs mocking the “Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lead” memes at a team Halloween party, there’s ample drama to go along with the NBA’s most prominent rivalry.
That drama is almost always accompanied with fantastic basketball. Although there was some understandable fatigue about two teams playing in the Finals together for the fourth straight year, the excitement of this year’s series almost made a fourth installment worth it—almost. Still, despite the pain of witnessing a four-game sweep, the relationship between the Cavs and the Warriors continues to hold a place in the hearts of NBA fans everywhere.
So with no shortage of great games to choose from, let’s take a look back at the 15 greatest Cavs-Warriors moments: