For the Golden State Warriors, they suffered the ultimate anti-climax to their record-setting season after failing to retain the Larry O'Brien trophy, despite leading the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals 3-1 at one stage.
The irony lies in the way the Dubs surrendered their crown. Just 12 months on from their victory at the home of the Cavaliers, where a champagne-soaked visiting locker room served as the ultimate insult, the Cavaliers hoisted the trophy in Oakland to exact the perfect revenge.
After winning a historic 73 regular season games and leading 3-1 in the Finals, it was a painful way for the Warriors to bow out. Unanimous MVP and Golden State point guard Stephen Curry told Matthew Florjancic of WKYC those wounds are far from healed and he explained why he and Andre Iguodala stood and watched the Cavs celebrate when many of their teammates retreated to the locker room.
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“We've obviously been on the other side of the situation last year, and know how great a feeling that is when you accomplish your goal,” Curry said. “I think me and him [Iguodala] were kind of just waiting for it to calm down a little bit so we could congratulate the individual guys.
"Because the competition was amazing in the series, and that's what basketball's all about, so win or lose, you appreciate the stage we were on and just that back and forth that we live for."
Curry remained humble in defeat and didn't avoid giving the Cavaliers the props they deserve. However, he insists the images of the Wine and Gold's celebrations embroidered in his mind will spur the Warriors on to greater heights next season.
“Yeah, it stung. It sucked to watch them celebrate, and we wish that would have been us, but at the end of the day, you congratulate them for accomplishing what they set out to do, and it will be a good image for us over the summer and all next season to remember so that we can come back stronger. That's all you can do.”
As a back-to-back MVP who led the league in scoring, Curry knows he didn't rise to the occasion in the finals. He plans to use the pain of this year as a driver to improve and ensure he doesn't have to feel this way again.
“I didn't play efficient. I had some good moments, but didn't do enough to help my team win, especially down the stretch. I was aggressive, but in the wrong ways.
“It will haunt me for a while because it means a lot to me to try to lead my team and do what I need to do on the court and big stages. Done it before. Didn't do it. It will be good down the stretch or next year coming back and kind of remembering this feeling and being an even better player.”
It's admirable that Curry won't hide behind any excuses. The league should be very afraid; the last thing a man of this talent needs is a burning motivation.