If there’s one player who stands vital for the Miami Heat that can share his extremely rare blueprint and experience of being involved in the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history, it’s definitely Kevin Love.
Love, who was a prominent member of the legendary, championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers team in 2016, shared the significant message he sent to his Heat teammates in the aftermath of their painful Game 4 home defeat against the Denver Nuggets that dropped in an enormous 3-1 hole of this year’s Finals.
“Just like I say here since – we know that anything can happen,” Love told reporters.
“It has been done before… I’ve been part of that.”
Cleveland’s epic 3-1 series comeback served as the ultimate cherry on top of the marquee 2015-16 season. After being on the cusp of another Finals collapse in the hands of a strong Golden State Warriors team who established a regular season record of 73 wins behind unanimous MVP Stephen Curry, the Cavs flipped up the switch, turned the tables around, and completed the unthinkable.
Following a crushing Game 4 defeat, the Cavaliers didn’t lose that fiery intent to maintain their standing amid the commanding upper hand posted by the Dubs.
In Game 5 heading back to the hostile Oracle Arena building, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving performed in perhaps the greatest Finals performance by a duo as they both dropped 41 each to send the series back to Northeast Ohio and keep their campaign alive.
And in Game 6, Cleveland completely pulverized Golden State as James delivered another 41-point masterpiece to ultimately force the title bout in having the best two words in sports: Game 7.
Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals had it all from a tightly contested rubber match and players stepping up their game for the ultimate prize. As such, the series finale can’t be more exquisite due to the clutch plays of the Cavaliers to seal the deal with James accomplishing an unreal, iconic chase-down block over Andre Iguodala and Irving sinking the game-winning three over Curry with less than a minute left.
Courtesy of a marvelous turn of events and a miraculous comeback overall, the Cavaliers clinched their first-ever NBA title and handed the entire city of Cleveland its first professional title in 52 years. Leading players from both teams in all of the five basic statistical categories, the hometown hero in James captured the Finals Most Valuable Player plum after spearheading the Cavs’ improbable run and fulfilling his promise of a championship.
Both James and Irving have amassed countless credits for cementing the Cavs’ golden journey. But real ones know that Love, amid an abrasive seven-game series performance, did his part massively by displaying one of the most underappreciated defensive plays – locking down Curry who tried to answer Irving’s cold-blooded dagger trey.
The defensive stop that Love has accomplished against Curry is a living testament that his involvement in the Cavs’ grand finish seven years ago is what the Heat truly need at this daunting stage of their Finals saga against the Nuggets.
Love is also the testament that anything can still happen for Miami as its majestic Cinderella run is still alive, glowing, and remains in its prime to paint more images of history after all of what they’ve been through.
Throughout 36 different 3-1 series matchup scenarios in the Finals stage, Love and the Cavs were the only ones to carve their mark as the lone team to overcome it. Despite what history tells about those clubs who severely trailed from this convincing championship series margin, one is still immeasurably better than zero.
“You really just have to take in one possession at a time,” Love added. “Forget the game. It’s just one possession, one quarter, half by half, and just get it done by any means necessary and we’ll figure the rest out.”