Cavaliers' Richard Jefferson says 2017 NBA Finals were closer than people think

2017 NBA Finals - Game Four

Last season's NBA Finals finished with the Golden State Warriors being crowned the NBA Champions for the second time in the space of three seasons after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in the Finals series.

The result really wasn't that surprising considering the super team they had assembled in the Bay Area following Kevin Durant's arrival to the Warriors last summer, but if one or two plays had gone the other way, the outcome of the Finals could have been a lot different.

Cavaliers Richard Jefferson certainly thinks that, as he believes the series was a little closer than what people remember.

During a recent appearance on The Bill Simmons podcast, Jefferson explained how if a few key plays had different outcomes, it might have been Cleveland that were crowned NBA Champions back in June. This is how the conversation about the NBA Finals between Simmons and Jefferson on the podcast unfolded.

This is how the conversation about the NBA Finals between Simmons and Jefferson on the podcast unfolded, according to CBS Sports.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

Simmons: "I went to three of those games. That series was way closer than people remember now."

Jefferson: "It was way closer. Like Kyle [Korver], who was one of the great shooters in the history of the game of basketball, like in the history of the game, he has a good look, it doesn't drop. That's part of it."

Simmons: "Or even two minutes before, J.R. has a wide-open 3 and he takes a hop step to the left and missed it."

Jefferson: "And missed it."

Simmons: "But if that goes in, the game is over."

2017 NBA Finals - Game Four

Jefferson: "And KD hits a tough shot over LeBron on a dribble-up."

Simmons: "And then you mess up the two-for-one."

Jefferson: "But that's what I'm saying. People don't understand. "Oh, 4-1 they killed you!" It's literally one shot here, one shot there, then you go 2-2. If it's 2-2, you go there, it's Game 5. I still stand there. There is zero chance -- very similar to the year before, we do not lose on our home court in a Game 6 situation, right?"

Simmons: "Right."

Jefferson: "Now you go Game 7. Anything can happen. That's how close it is. It's literally a difference between three shots playing in a Game 7 and losing 4-1."

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

While a few key plays going differently might have adjusted how the two teams played, it's hard to say it would have drastically altered the outcome of the Finals. Teams would have adjusted differently if these moments went the opposite direction, completely changing the face of the Finals.

The Warriors could have been more aggressive entering Game 4 if they had lost Game 3. The difference between the Cavaliers losing the Finals and being crowned NBA Champions is not down to three shots.

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