If the Golden State Warriors are going to win Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors, they'll likely need a historic performance by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Coincidentally, Game 6 falls on the three-year anniversary of perhaps the greatest performance in Finals history by any pair of teammates.
Can the Splash Brothers repeat history?
On June 13, 2016, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 112-97 victory over the Warriors. With both of them scoring 41 points, James and Irving became the first teammates in Finals history to score at least 40 points in a game.
James shot 16-for-30 from the field and 4-for-8 from the 3-point line while Irving shot 17-for-24 from the field and 5-for-7 from the 3-point line. Together, they made more shots (33) than everyone on the Warriors combined (32).
James also recorded 16 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in the win. According to Basketball Reference, it's a stat line we've only ever seen once before in the Finals - Magic Johnson in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, when he posted 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
James carried that momentum into Game 6 three days later, scoring 41 points to lead the Cavaliers to another win. In doing so, he joined Jerry West, Rick Barry, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal as the only players in league history to post 40 or more points in back-to-back Finals games.
More importantly for the Cavaliers, it helped them force a Game 7 at Oracle Arena, which they would go on to win. They became the only team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals in the process.
Three years later, the Warriors are trying to duplicate history and come out on the other side of the same situation they found themselves in back in 2016.