For the Golden State Warriors, the danger of an NBA Finals upset—and the historic level of disappointment that would accompany such an outcome—never felt real.

He ain’t gonna lose,” LeBron’s friend and former teammate repeated as he walked out of Quicken Loans Arena, where James had just put together his second consecutive 41-point game — with 11 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots to boot — to send his Cleveland Cavaliers back to Oakland for a championship-deciding Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors.

Until now.

The Cleveland Cavaliers embarrassed, out-competed and outclassed the Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena, ripping things open with a 31-11 first quarter and turning away every desperate Warriors counter. The 115-101 win means the Cavs are now one victory away from becoming the first team to come back from a 3-1 Finals hole.


An anomaly like, say, Irving shooting 17-of-24 from the field like he did in Game 5, could result in a ring for Cleveland. And because the Warriors missed opportunities to close out the series in Games 5 and 6, they’ve let the Cavs hang on long enough for the circumstances to tilt further in their favor.