The NBA Playoffs have given fans two different reactions thus far.
Yawns and jaw-dropping excitement.
Why the the two polar opposites you ask? It’s simple. The NBA fanatics love this to see another Finals showdown (for the 3rd time) along with history being made each and every blowout game. The yawners are reacting to the blowout wins, wishing that they went down to the wire and the series lasted longer than 5 games.
This is the beauty and the beast of the NBA this Playoffs and for the past 3 seasons. It has been dominated by two teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. People love to see the dynasty at play, but they also want to see some close games and adversity hit before the NBA Finals. Bad news fans, this isn’t playing out that way. The closest that we have seen to the adversity was Sunday night when Cleveland lost Game 3 at home after obliterating the Celtics in the first two games. Other than that, the Western Conference has been nothing short of boring AND historic, as the Warriors are the only team in NBA history to sweep their way to the Finals.
It is apparent where the conundrum sets in. The media and fans today love to compare historic performances and label and grade every aspect of the game as “historic”. Fans and media also want close games and the underdog coming alive, as this allows more entertainment. I’ll be honest, I am the NBA fanatic that LOVES how things are playing out. It only goes to show that the NBA is driven, much like any professional sport, y only a couple teams for decades at a time. For example, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have won 30-plus championships COMBINED! The NBA has only been around for about 70 years since the merger. That is just under half of the history of the NBA championships within two franchises, not to mention another 5 or so by the Spurs and some other franchises. When you break it down, only a handful of teams have had the chance to hold up the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
What people of our generation don’t realize is that we are witnessing something that may not happen again for decades. Teams as dominate as the Cavs and Warriors and continuing to perform at elite levels year in and year out. This is what we all want. Another showdown to break the championship tie between the two franchises. The old saying goes, best two out of three, right?
The path that both had to get here has been about identical. I should also mention here that my previous post did have all of the correct selections for the Conference Finals games (Spurs/Warriors and Celtics/Cavaliers). Now on to the fun part. We know that the Kawhi injury has given the star-driven Warriors to sweep their way to the Finals. I think that series could have gone 6 or 7 if he was healthy, as the man was playing the best basketball of his career. The Cavaliers series is everything short of being over, after the Game 3 slip up that allowed the IT-less Celtics to steal one on the road.
This is where the fun begins.
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Draymond Green have shown why the Warriors are serious challenges on on the offensive and defensive end for the Cavs. These guys are the given. Here is the X-Factor within the Finals. Klay Thompson. If the Warriors are able to get Klay off to a great start or have a highlight game or two, I don’t think that the Cavs are able to stand a chance with how the rest of the guys are playing. There is too much offense along with a great defense to stop that locomotive.
But wait, there’s LeBron.
We all have to realize that the Cavaliers have LeBron James. The man is the greatest player in the world and is clearly on a mission to do something great. He is playing at an all-time high and his cast around him does nothing but take advantage of the focus you have to have on him. Early on through the Playoffs, he has shown that nobody can stop him and it will take at least someone else to help in order to stop him. I do think that this will be a back and forth Finals, but I have to go with the better team play right now than individual performance and the iso-driven Cavaliers.
What am I getting at? Warriors in 7 games. I think that this series will play out until the very end once again, just like in 2016. I do think that the Warriors will be playing a better team game this year and will not be so reliant upon a couple individuals to score like last year. The addition of KD gives them the ability to go head to head with LeBron which nobody was able to do last year. They had to use Iggy on defense to guard him along with someone else to produce on offense to try and match him at both ends. Now, that can be done with one guy, Kevin Durant. This also opens up opportunities for other players like Steph and Klay to shine on the offensive end as well.
Buckle up folks, this is gonna’ be another one for the books.