Basketball

Cavaliers vs. Warriors III brings never-before-seen twist to NBA Finals

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, right, hugs Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry before a game on Dec. 25, 2016, in Cleveland. The Christmas Day meeting was the first between the teams following their NBA Finals matchup, won by the Cavaliers.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, right, hugs Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry before a game on Dec. 25, 2016, in Cleveland. The Christmas Day meeting was the first between the teams following their NBA Finals matchup, won by the Cavaliers. Associated Press file

Rematches in the NBA Finals are nothing new.

Since the league began its championship format in 1947, there have been 14 rematches in the title round.

However, there is something new about this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors matchup: It’s the first time in league history where two teams have met for the title in three consecutive seasons.

Game 1 is Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The Cavaliers won last season to give the city of Cleveland its first professional sports title since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964. The Warriors won the previous year for their first title since 1975.

Despite being the defending champions, the Cavaliers are underdogs in their bid to repeat.

Here’s a look at past rematches in the NBA Finals:

Years

Teams

Winners

1952-53

Minnesota Lakers vs. New York Knicks

Lakers (both)

1957-58

St. Louis Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics in ’57, Hawks in ’58

1960-61

St. Louis Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics (both)

1962-63

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics (both)

1965-66

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics (both)

1968-69

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics (both)

1972-73

Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks

Lakers in ’72, Knicks in ’73

1978-79

Seattle SuperSonics vs. Washington Bullets

Bullets in ’78, SuperSonics in ’79

1982-83

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Lakers in ’82, 76ers in ’83

1984-85

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics in ’84, Lakers in ’85

1988-89

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons

Lakers in ’88, Pistons in ’89

1997-98

Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls

Bulls (both)

2013-14

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat

Heat in ’13, Spurs in ’14

2015-16

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Warriors in ’15, Cavaliers in ’16

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