As the late baseball great Yogi Berra once said, it's deja vu all over again -- but the sport is basketball, as the Golden State Warriors prepare to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the upcoming National Basketball Association championship finals for the second straight season.
The defending champion Warriors earned their way into the championship series Monday with a 96-88 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder in the seventh and deciding game of the Western Conference championship finals. Monday's win capped an unbelievable comeback for the Warriors, who fell behind, three games to one in the series, putting them on the verge of missing a chance to defend last season's title and diminishing the meaning of their historic, record-setting 73-win regular season.
Golden State is the first team since the 1981 Boston Celtics to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the conference finals. As always, the Warriors were led by their three-point shooting "Splash Brothers" -- Stephen Curry, the NBA's two-time reigning most valuable player, who finished with 36 points, and Klay Thompson, who scored 21 points. Thompson scored 41 points, including an NBA playoff record 11 three-pointers, in Saturday's 108-101 win in Oklahoma City to force Monday's game seven.
Oklahoma City was led by Kevin Durant with 27 points, and he may have played his final game for the Thunder as he enters free agency in the off-season.
Game one of the 2015-16 NBA Finals begins Thursday in Oakland's Oracle Arena. The Cavaliers are led by superstar LeBron James, who will have two key players alongside him who were missing in last year's Finals -- Kevin Love, who suffered a shoulder injury early in the playoffs, and Kyrie Irving, who went down with a leg injury in the first game against the Warriors.