No, the Warriors 2016 Finals Loss Was Not the Biggest Choke of the Decade

This article, https://bluemanhoop.com/2019/12/24/golden-state-warriors-3-1-blunder-was-worst-choke-of-the-decade/, discusses why the Golden State Warriors’ 2016 NBA Finals loss was the worst choke of the decade. The article mainly states that in 2016 the Warriors had it all. They were clicking on all cylinders and were destined to repeat as champions. This is all true, but then the article makes it seem like Stephen Curry simply didn’t play up to his unanimous MVP level in the Finals and therefore the Warriors choked away their 3-1 lead. This article has some clear biases in it, as it paints out the Cavs leading a historic comeback solely due to their play and the Warriors not playing up to par.

The article fails to paint the whole picture. Stephen Curry went down with a brutal MCL sprain in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, leaving the Warriors without their superstar player for over two weeks. He was able to make a return, but clearly didn’t look like himself. One of the biggest strengths to Curry’s game is his off ball movement and his shotmaking off the dribble. Both of these were drastically limited due to him playing at much less than full strength. While this was very obvious in the Western Conference Finals vs the OKC Thunder, the Warriors still managed to overcome a 3-1 deficit and advance to the NBA Finals. A combination of fatigue and excellent defense from the Cavaliers led to Stephen Curry being much less effective after taking a 3-1 lead over Cleveland. Facing constant double teams and rough house defense led to the Warriors having to lean on other players to step up in the last 3 games, which clearly didn’t end up working out. Harrison Barnes was often left wide open for the Warriors and shot an inexcusably poor 5/32 FG over the final three games of the finals. They also lost their starting center Andrew Bogut to injury for the last two games and their star forward Draymond Green to suspension in Game 5.

All these factors led to the Warriors losing the Finals after going up 3-1. While this was definitely a choke job, I don’t consider it to be the biggest of the decade due to all the circumstances surrounding it.

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