The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA crown in four decades Tuesday night, but a last-minute comeback attempt almost had the ABC Sports broadcast team eating their words.
As time ticked off the clock in game 6, announcers Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Breen began talking about the Warriors' championship. Moments later, Cleveland started cutting into Golden State's lead -- and very well could have stolen the game, New York Times TV sports reporter Richard Sandomir wrote in an article Wednesday.
"A lot can happen in a short time. And it did," he noted. "As the three men spoke, Cleveland was cutting into the Warriors' lead. J.R. Smith's two 3-pointers made the score 100-92 with 55 seconds to go."
Lebron James' Cavaliers cut the lead down to just four with about 30 seconds left in the game. And several teams have successfully overcome such a deficit in the annals of sports history.
"We were even waxing poetic about the upcoming championship. But Cleveland, fighting tooth and nail to the end," Breen acknowledged.
Golden State held on and won the game 105-97, and the NBA championship -- the team's first since 1975.
Perhaps the most famous example of a premature championship declaration came in game 6 of the 1986 World Series. With the Boston Red Sox leading the New York Mets 5-3 with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning -- one out from the title -- the Shea Stadium scoreboard operator briefly flashed a message that read, "Congratulations, Boston Red Sox, World Champions."
The message was followed by an incredible series of unlikely events and New York won the game. In game 7, they beat Boston again for the championship.