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COMEBACK IS REAL | Looking back at basketball's epic finals rallies

In a year where 3-1 finals leads were blown, nothing was more special than San Miguel's comeback from 0-3 down. PBA (file photo)
By Jason Espiritu

WHAT a year it has been for basketball fanatics around the world.

Basketball took us into two historic best-of-seven finals series. We saw two teams facing insurmountable series deficits and turning it around to make incredible historic comebacks.

The "Beeracle"

In February, we saw the San Miguel Beermen coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the Philippine Cup Finals versus Alaska.

SMB were dead shot in the water before they squeaked out an overtime win in Game 4 despite being down 13 midway thru the fourth quarter of that game.

Help came when MVP June Mar Fajardo decided to suit up and play from Game 5 onward.

They completed a rare feat in what sports analysts called “Beeracle” when they defeated Alaska in Game 7. SMB became the first and only team to comeback from a 0-3 deficit in the history of PBA and all of basketball.

Writing history

In June, we saw an epic rematch of the previous season’s finalists Cleveland and Golden State.

But this time Cleveland was complete and healthy.

The Warriors had the homecourt advantage being the number one overall seed in the regular season in which they became the best regular season team with 73 wins and 9 losses, surpassing Michael Jordan’s Bulls team of ’96.

Games 1-3 were blowouts by the home teams, almost killing the vibe of an interesting rematch between those two teams.

Game 4 was a different story where the Cavs looked like were in full control of the game posting double digit leads up until the third quarter.

Golden State just stayed close thru three quarters and made their move midway thru the fourth quarter.

They regained the lead and took control for the remaining of the game for the important road win gave them an insurmountable 3-1 series lead and looking at back-to-back championships.

Game 5 saw historic performances by teammates Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Both had 41 points to lead Cleveland to an impressive road win in Oakland. They were NBA’s first set of teammates to that feat in the history of the NBA.

Draymond Green didn’t play because of a suspension that changed the complexion of the series.

Game 6 returned to Cleveland where the Cavs dominated the Warriors once again. James followed up his Game 5 performance with another 41-point game in Game 6.

The Cavs forced a deciding Game 7 back in Oakland.

In Game 7, we saw the Cavaliers end the city of Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought in any major sport.

We saw Irving grow up into a superstar role and hit probably the biggest shot in Cleveland Cavaliers’ history. We also saw James delivered on his promise to bright a championship to his beloved hometown.

The Cleveland Cavaliers also became the first team in any major sport in America to overcome a 3-1 deficit lead in the Finals.

Special Case: The early sign that the 73-9 Warriors can be beatable

The Golden State Warriors edged out the Oklahoma City Thunder in an epic seven-game semifinal series where they had to overcome a 3-1 lead by the Thunder.

OKC stole the homecourt advantage in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, eking out a 108-102 win in Oakland.

Having been the best team in the NBA for two years and not having back-to-back losses all season long, the defending champs Warriors took control much of Game 2 where they demolish the Thunder 118-91 to even up the series.

The Thunder went back home confident in their turf. They took care of Games 3 and 4 via an average margin of 26 points. They took a 3-1 series lead back to Oakland where they want to finish the series.

Warriors won Game 5 and returned to OKC hoping to extend their season a little bit more.

Game 6 started with OKC controlling much of the game, even having a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

OKC can already smell a finals birth with only 12 minutes left, but Klay Thompson had other plans and erupted in the fourth, leading a Warriors comeback to for a deciding Game 7.

Game 7 felt like a game already lost for the Thunder. They started out hot and strong but eventually when Golden State made their own run, the Warriors never looked back, Thunder can’t do anything but see their series lead evaporate and head to their off-season.

Despite the outcome, it showed how a supposedly dominant squad can still have a hard time winning a playoff series, something the Cavs exposed further in the finals.

For more of our 2016 basketball recap, read here.

Follow him on Twitter: @EST42890