In the first half of the playoffs, the Cavaliers were on their way to a record-setting fourth straight title, and Cleveland was poised to win the NBA Finals for the second time in four years.
Unfortunately, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement stipulated that the Cavs were allowed to keep all of their cap space, and LeBron James wasn’t going to be on the payroll.
The Cavs’ cap hit was only $20 million.
After a 3-1 series loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Cavs could have gone on to the Eastern Conference Finals, and they had the opportunity to earn a spot in the Western Conference Finals.
Instead, they went on a three-game winning streak and fell to the Utah Jazz in six games.
The Cavaliers went from the East’s No. 1 seed to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern conference semifinals, and the Cavs had already clinched the No-Shared Team designation in the West.
This wasn’t good enough for the Cavs.
Now, the Celtics were poised to become the second-seeded team in the NBA Playoffs and the third-seeding team in their conference.
The Celtics were a team that had already played well in the postseason, and their two playoff losses to the Cavaliers didn’t do them any favors.
In Game 5, the two teams were tied at 81-all with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter, and Boston needed to win.
The game started off well, as the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett had his first career 3-pointer, but a shot from Isaiah Thomas was called back in bounds.
The officials were unable to make the call, and Thomas was sent to the line for a flagrant foul.
The crowd was ecstatic at this moment, as they had seen the play and thought it was the game-winner.
This didn’t end well for the Celtics, who were forced to give up a free throw after an Isaiah Thomas dunk.
Boston then had to go back to the bench, where they could only give up one basket on the night.
When they finally had to give a shot in the final minutes of the game, the shot bounced off the rim.
This led to the Celtics going on to lose the game 117-102, and as a result, the title went to the Warriors.
The series was tied at one heading into Game 6, and neither team would get a chance to make it to the championship game until the Celtics blew out the Cavaliers in Game 7.
Boston won Game 7 to go up 3-0 in the series.
The next day, after Boston lost Game 7, they announced that they had signed Isaiah Thomas to a four-year contract worth $82 million.
The deal had been signed in March, and it was a big blow to the Cavs and their fans.
After the loss in Game 6 to the Nets, Boston and the Cavaliers met in the Finals for their third straight title.
The Finals were the first game in which the two Eastern Conference teams met in consecutive years, and James was on the court for the first time since the Cavaliers’ Game 6 win over the Celtics.
The NBA Playoffs were the biggest event in the history of the NBA, and this was going to make an impact on the future of basketball in America.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals in six to the Boston Celtics.