Basketball in 2016: 10 memorable moments

The Golden State Warriors dream season ends in a LeBron James nightmare; legends leave the game; the basketball world-wide mourns Pat Summitt

1) Cleveland Cavaliers shock the Golden State Warriors

You can be forgiven for was of the view that the Cleveland Cavaliers were finished. After all , no unit in NBA history had ever come back from a 3-1 NBA Finals lead and they were playing a Golden State Warriors team that wasnt just good but historically unprecedented. Having moved 73 -9 in the regular season, the 2015 -1 6 Warriors were arguably a single prevail away from is available on the best NBA team ever conversation.

Plus, Cleveland was Cleveland. The metropolitan hadnt won a championships in 52 times. The entire record of professional sports was pointed out that their situation was hopeless. Even when the Cavalier won the next two competitions to push a Game 7, there was a sense that it was merely specifying the stage for yet another mashing disappointment.

It wasnt until very late in the fourth quarter of Game 7 that the wow moment called about. With video games tied and the clock beginning to run out, LeBron James practically teleported to the other side of the court that are intended to block an Andre Iguodala attempt. James wasnt exactly making a basketball participate, he was transporting the Warriors a letter: They werent going to let them have this.

And they didnt. Kyrie Irving subsequently hit one of the biggest shoots in Finals history, the Cavaliers ended up winning 93 -8 9. The Warriors miracle season was dead and so was the so-called Cleveland sports curse.

2) Team USA clean the Olympics

This times US mens basketball unit didnt quite have the star power of past Dream Teams, and they even struggled on occasion, but that ultimately didnt change the end result. Once again, Team USA ran undefeated on their mode towards an easy final victory against an altogether overmatched adversary( this is gonna be Serbia, this time around ). It was a worthy end to the Olympic careers of Carmelo Anthony, whose four awards proved him as “the worlds largest” embellished basketball player in US Olympic history, and manager coach Mike Krzyzewski.

They werent, however, the most dominant basketball unit in Rio. The crack between the US womens unit and their opposings was so wide-ranging that it nearly seemed unfair that they were allowed to compete. Their 101-72 prevailover Spain in the final was actually one of the more competitive competitions they played.

With a murderers row of top musicians including Maya Moore, Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donne and Diana Taurasi, it could be argued that the 2016 squad wasnt exactly the greatest women basketball unit of all time but one of “the worlds largest” talented basketball teams ever made, period.

3) Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett retire

They were, perhaps, the best musicians of their generation and we answered goodbye to all three of them in the span of a few months. Before the beginning of this 2015 -1 6 season, Kobe Bryant announced that this would be his final NBA season, essentially transforming his teams campaign into a departing tour.

Well, Bryant nailed the encore, thats for certain. On the last day of the season, Bryant tallied 60 moments in a win over the Utah Jazz. It took him 50 shot attempts to do so. It was the platonic ideal of a Bryant game, in other words.

Tim Duncans exit, for purposes of comparison, was more in accordance with his private, unassuming identity. The news of Duncans retirement, after 19 seasons in the league, came in the form of a press statement posted on the San Antonio Spurs website during the dog days of summer. Just like that, he was gone.

A few months later, the word called that Kevin Garnett was adjourning. It was astonishing news because Garnett still had a year left on his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted him and the team he returned to after stints with the Boston Celtics and( less notably) the Brooklyn Net. Throughout his 21 NBA seasons, Garnett gained a reputation as one of the games most enigmatic illustrations, it follows that there would be an breeze of mystery surrounding his departure.

4) The basketball world-wide mourns Pat Summitt

The basketball world mourned the loss of a true-blue mythology this year. Pat Summitt, former manager manager of Tennessees womens basketball planned, died in June after a battle with early onset Alzheimers. She was 64.

As the head manager of Tennessees womens basketball unit since 1974, her Lady Vols teams won eight championships, exclusively UCLAs John Wooden and UConns Geno Auriemma have won more. As impressive as those wins were, they wont be her long-lasting gift. Instead, people will recollect Summitt for how she facilitated ripen women basketball and how her teams facilitated change it from a niche athletic to what it is today. If shes not the most important figure in the history of the athletic, shes certainly in the top two or three.

Maybe no other anecdote is more telling than her answer when asked whether she would be interested in coaching the Tennessee mens unit. She replied:Why is that considered a step up? It was a good theme then. It remains a question now.

5) Kevin Durant connects the Warriors

There were talks about it happening, but no one really thought it was possible. The easy money would be to bet on free agent Kevin Durant re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if Durant wanted to go to the Warriors, how would they make room for him? Heck, even if we are able to afford to create him in, the Warriors offense was already historically great, how something better could Durant possibly become them?

If the Warriors had won their second straight-shooting title, Durant are more likely to still be with the Thunder. Instead, their pain loss to the Cavaliers persuaded them they were required make a move. So, in July, Durant and the Warriors agreed to a two-year, $54.3 m contract.

Durants defection is not simply added a new chapter to the Warriors increasingly tense strife with the Cavalier, it had the side effect of constructing every Warriors/ Thunder game featuring Durants former team-mate Russell Westbrook a must-watch event.

6) NCAA Championship game comes to a crazy end

For all of its flaws, 2016 didnt frustrate when it came to dramatic results. Take, for example, the final minutes of the title competition between North Carolina and Villanova which peculiarity not one, but two of the most incredible shoots you will ever look at different levels of basketball.

Its hard not to feel bad for North Carolinas Marcus Paige. His improbable, off-balance three-pointer that tied video games with exactly 4.7 seconds left in regulation should have attained him the games hero. It was a moment means to celebrated for years and years to come.

Instead, North Carolina had mere seconds to celebrate before fate, in the form of Villanovas Kris Jenkins, stepped in. With period expiring, Jenkins hit his own once-in-a-lifetime film as the buzzer went off, to break the tie , not to mention the hearts of a exhaustively stunned North Carolina. Villanova won 77 -7 4, in accordance with the arrangements no one is likely to forget any time soon, even if UNC love might care they could.

7) The Process comes to an end

After years off purposeful failure, the Philadelphia 76 ers parted styles with GM Sam Hinkie the leader designer of the much-embattled Process. The Process was a limited demolition of the team that, in theory, would allow them to rebuild through the draft. Under Hinkie, the 76 ers shed nearly everything of value, fielded a purposely noncompetitive unit for several years and hoped to country franchise-revitalizing musicians happen enlist day.

Unfortunately, the Process went on longer than either love or owned were prepared to wait. Theres exclusively so many seasons where you can afford to put under an unpalatable product and still keep your fanbase. By the time the 76 ers brought in Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations, it was clear that Hinkie was on his way out.

Ironically, Hinkie was fired right before his strategy was lastly starting to show dividends: the 76 ers actually got the first overall select in the raffle, which they used to select Ben Simmons. Dario Saric, “whove been” invited to participate in Turkey, finally met the team. Most promising of all, Joel Embiid, the heavily hyped middle who was sidelined with hurts for his first few seasons, has emerged as the Rookie of the Year favorite now that he can actually play.

Hes taken up a moniker, he calls himself The Process .

8) The salary cap rises

For several years theres been a discussion about how the league get changed after the influx of fund from their their nine-year, $24 bn transaction with ESPN and Turner Sports started pouring in. Amazingly enough, the first free-agency stage for the purposes of the new salary cap was almost reasonable compared to what some had predicted.

Oh sure, its still hilarious that Evan Turner received a four-year $70 m contract from the Portland Trail Blazers. And, yes, even Mike Conley will tell you that Mike Conley doesnt is in favour of the highest paid player in NBA history. Those copes were certain exceptions rather than the rule, which was almost disappointing: laughing at teams handing out bad contracts is one of the greatest joyfulness in has become a sports fan.

9) WNBA Finals Game 5

We mentioned that there were a lot of stimulating results this year right? Game 5 of the WNBA finals, a winner-takes-all liaison between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks was, gave us the most dramatic finish in league record as the two teams traded potential game-winners in its final minute.

The Sparks were up 75 -7 4 with a little more than 19 seconds to go when Maya Moore hit a jumper that contributed the cause back to Minnesota. With period running out, the Sparks winged to the other end of the court where Nneka Ogwumike was able to rebound a missed film and tally on the put back with exactly 3.1 seconds away on the clock. This time around, the score held up, and the Sparks won the championship.

The game, however, was not free from debate. The date after Game 5, the WNBA admitted that Ogwumike was improperly credited for the purposes of an earlier basket that was a shot clock misdemeanor and shouldnt have counted. Im assured that manufactures the Lynx feel better.

10) The Golden State Warriors start 73 -9

In a different universe, the biggest basketball tale of the year would then be the Golden State Warriors outshining the 1995 -9 6 Chicago Bulls record of 72 -1 0 on the last day of the regular season with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. In this one, however, its become the NBA equivalent of the New England Patriots leading 16 -1, as impressive of an accomplishment as it is, it eventually acts as a vaguely embarrassing remember of what could have been had happens not fallen apart right at the extremely, extremely end.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ athletic/ blog/ 2016/ dec/ 30/ basketball-in-2 016 -1 0-memorable-moments


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