First step of Warriors' dynasty traces back to 2015 NBA Finals Game 1

First step of Warriors' dynasty traces back to 2015 NBA Finals Game 1

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavs tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Take an all-time great, put him back on a team in his home state, then match that team up with a budding dynasty led by a generational shooter on the NBA's biggest stage. 

Put those ingredients together and you get Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors, the start of a rivalry that defined the 2010s. 

In Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, the matchup lived up to the foreshadowed hype, as LeBron James scored big, but the Warriors survived, taking Game 1 108-100 in overtime. Over 53 game minutes, each team showed grit, while injuries robbed the Cavs of its star power. 

Each team's journey to The Finals was different. Eleven months prior, James announced he'd be signing with Cleveland -- who drafted him in 2003 -- after four years with the Miami Heat. The addition of James, which paired him with young guard Kyrie Irving and newly acquired All-Star Kevin Love, put the Cavs among the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Warriors dominated the NBA, finishing with a league-high 67 wins. 

Cleveland followed suit, finishing the season on a 33-9 run after a midseason trade that brought JR Smith, Timofy Mozgov and Iman Shumpert onto the roster. Their dominance extended to the postseason, as they lost just two games before the Finals. 

But James' supporting cast was hindered by the time the Cavs got to Oracle Arena. Love dislocated his left shoulder in Cleveland's first playoff game against the Boston Celtics, putting more responsibility on James. Despite the conundrum, Cleveland's "give the ball to Bron" offense worked early in Game 1. Through the first 24 minutes, James shot over, around and through Golden State's defense, helping Cleveland take a 51-48 lead. By the end of the third quarter, James had accumulated 31 points, three rebounds and three assists.

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As James carried, Irving shined, chipping in 23 points, helping the Cavs nearly push Golden State to the brink. But Cleveland's chances, along with Irving's season, ended midway through overtime when Irving fractured his kneecap and crumpled to the floor. Over the final two-plus minutes, the Warriors took control, outscoring the Cavs 10-2 in period. 

The game marked the start of the Warriors' annual trip to the league's biggest stage. While James had won championships in Miami, Golden State was still in its infacy. Though the Warriors winning 67 games, the core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson had never played past the second round of the playoffs.

Their coach, Steve Kerr, was winding down his first season as coach after getting poached from the broadcast booth the summer prior. Nonetheless, the Warriors' young, balanced, attack prevailed. Curry scored 26 points, while Thompson added 21 points.

[RELATED: Kerr reflects on Warriors' dynasty]

But the game will forever be considered as the start of the league's pre-eminent rivalry. Twelve months after Game 1, the Cavs came back from a 3-1 lead to beat the Warriors to capture James' third title. A month after the upset, Golden State signed Kevin Durant, putting together one of the greatest collections of talent in NBA history, helping the Warriors win two more titles. By the end of the run, the two teams would play each other in four straight NBA Finals. 

In a league defined by its history, Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals was the start of a sports tale that'll live in infamy.

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

While the NBA is inching closer to resuming the 2019-20 season, Europe's top league decided not to pursue the same avenue.

The EuroLeague announced Monday that it was canceling the remainder of its 2019-20 season.

Each EuroLeague team had played 28 of their 34 regular-season games.

Ordinarily, the EuroLeague ending its season wouldn't be news for the Warriors and their fans.

But 2020 has been a completely different year for the Warriors. Mired in a 15-50 season, Golden State will have a top-5 pick in this year's NBA draft.

That means 19-year-old Israeli prospect Deni Avdija, who plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, is on the Warriors' radar. NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole reported at the end of April that the Warriors have traveled to Europe to take a look at Avdija, who could be a top-5 draft pick.

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With the Warriors missing the playoffs this season, the team was going to use the unexpected free time in May to go scout prospects in Europe. Coach Steve Kerr reportedly was supposed to go watch Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon, while Kent Lacob, director of team development, was going to scout Avdija. But the coronavirus pandemic forced the Warriors to cancel those travel plans.

Due to travel restrictions, the Warriors likely wouldn't have been able to send anyone to watch Avdija play in the final six EuroLeague games had they been played, but they could have at least gotten six more games worth of film on him.

Now, they will have to form their opinion of Avdija with the in-person scouting they've already done and the film they have on hand.

In 21 games this season against Israel Basketball Super League competition, Avdija averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 26.6 minutes.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Mock Draft 7.0]

Avdija hasn't gotten as much playing time in the EuroLeague, so his numbers aren't great. In 26 games against better competition, he's averaging 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.2 minutes.

We don't know when the NBA will hold the 2020 draft, but if the Warriors select Avdija, we'll know that they saw enough of him before the coronavirus put a stop to basketball around the world.

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Sunday’s “The Match,” featuring a showdown between NFL stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady along with PGA icons Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was a smashing success. The event raised $20 million for coronavirus relief in the United States, and was the highest-rated golf event in cable television history.

The access and humorous trash talk throughout has led many to speculate as to which duo from sports could be part of the next iteration of the event. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd discussed this on Monday and posed some interesting potential pairings.

"Michael has always let it be known that he's pretty good at golf," Cowherd said. "Steph is easily the best current NBA golfer, that I would pay to see."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry tweeted Sunday that he’d like to be included next time around, and sure enough Cowherd first mentioned a duel between the Warriors star and another NBA icon with North Carolina roots in Michael Jordan. MJ was shown to play golf frequently throughout his NBA career during ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” and continues to be a fan of the sport.

Curry is an avid golf fan and was glued to his television Sunday during “The Match.” He’s played in some professional golf events in the past, and always is among the best current athletes at the celebrity-laden American Century Championship each summer in Lake Tahoe.

Given MJ’s propensity to trash talk during his historic NBA career, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be trading barbs constantly with Curry. Steph’s confidence never has been in question and he likely would have plenty of fun going back and forth with Jordan.

[RELATED: Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match']

Throwing a couple PGA pros in, especially two who are avid NBA fans could make for some great conversation. As we saw throughout Sunday’s foursome, Mickelson and Woods were more than willing to engage and dish out some one-liners.

MJ likely wouldn’t be thrilled about being mic’d up for an entire round with no editorial control. But if both parties would be willing, this would be the most highly-anticipated event in the history of golf.

Plus we finally could settle that pesky debate of which team was more dominant between Curry’s 2016-17 Warriors and Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls.