*insert NBA theme song*
This is what its all about. This is why we (I anyway) follow the NBA for 11 out of the 12 months in the year. Depending on how you look at it, it’s the moment we have been waiting for or something you dreaded happening but knew it would happen anyway. I could have told you (to be fair, I told everyone who was willing to listen) that the finals would be between Golden State and Cleveland. You don’t even need to know much about Basketball to make that prediction. It’s all Durant’s fault by the way. There is no way this happens if he goes somewhere else. Don’t you think there’d be better competitive balance if he went to Boston? Him, Horford and Isaiah Thomas would make a hell of a team. Imagine what the Eastern Conference would be like? It would definitely have been a harder one to call.
I haven’t even seen the Cavs play this year in the playoffs. I saw game 1 of Golden State v San Antonio because I was sure it would be competitive. That one was over once Kawhi rolled his ankle. Anyway, let me get to the real reason for the podcast. This is supposed to be my official finals preview but I had some things to get off my chest.
I have the Warriors as slight favourites because they just have so many weapons. No way all their 4 all stars misfire through the series. Anyone else notice Klay Thompson has been misfiring through the playoffs? He’s averaging a shade over 14 points (down from 22 in the regular season) and he’s shooting 38% from the field. He just looks like he’s ordinary out there. In the game I watched, He hardly ever got the ball and misfired when he did. He went 2-8 or something. On the other hand, it seems his defence is holding up.
Back to the warriors, everyone knows about Curry’s shooting but what I find just as impressive is the way they use a maze of screens to free him up. Zaza and Draymond Green set him up and he is always completely free when they do. He nails those open 3’s Like a killer. Durant is well just Durant. He gets hot when he wants to and punishes you. Plus he’s finally putting those long limbs to good use and playing decent defence. He’s rebounding at a higher clip. Draymond Green is hitting 3’s at a good rate for a chance. Off the bench, they have Iguodala who was Lebron’s Kryptonite in 2015 and a player I really like in Shaun Livingstone. Just consider that at any point in the game, they can afford to have 3 of Curry, Thompson Durant, Green and Iguodala on the floor. I know Cleveland have a Good bench but my, my, Golden State’s bench isn’t so bad.
As far as Cleveland go, I was telling someone earlier today that Lebron will die before he lets Golden State get this one easy. He has just become the highest scoring player in NBA Playoff history and he’s just 31! I don’t think you understand how much of a big deal that is. Think of it this way, whoever you think are the 5 greatest players in history could not do what Lebron has done and Lebron isn’t even done yet! He has 4 – 5 more years in him. That’s just incredible. I am as much a Lebron hater as anyone out there and I think I might appreciate his legacy more when he retires but he’s an absolute legend. By the way he’s third all time in playoff assists and second all time in steals. (Take that for Data!- get it?)
Kyrie is no slouch. By many accounts he has the best handles in the game and is well capable of carrying the team when Lebron needs help (see game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals for example). He effectively clinched the championship for them last year with that clutch shot over curry in Game 7. Kevin love is there, doing his thing and playing third fiddle. He’s given Lebron a few dagger outlet passes this season. If the Warrirors don’t come up with a plan to keep him quiet, they will suffer because he will knock down those open 3’s. Speaking of open 3’s, JR Smith better be ready to go. The Cavs will need him to knock down those open shots (really happy for him about his baby by the way)
I really liked the Cavs chances when they got bogut but he got injured and that I think affected their chances slightly. I think Bogut would have gotten into the Warriors heads plus he’s a good passer and his passing range would have given GSW something to think about. I wish they kept Larry Sanders on the Roster (How good will it be to see him back in the NBA?). What does Derrick Williams do for this team? What a disappointment he has been. He was selected with the 2nd pick in the draft. Here are a list of people that were selected after him – Kanter, Tristan Thompson, Kemba, KAWHI!, Morris Twins. The list goes on and on. Not sure if I should blame him or the Timberwolves.
Can’t leave without saying a word about Deron Williams. He’s been annoying me since he left Utah and forgot to take his brains (and ankles with him) he just hasn’t been the same. I actually thought he’d excel in Clevaland but he’s just like a regular old squad member. I guess with Kyrie and Lebron you won’t have the ball in your hands all that much.
For all my moaning about the predictability, this series doesn’t count as that. It’s going to be very competitive and that’s something to look forward to. I just wish it started this weekend so I can catch some games. Don’t forget almost every team has lost one major player (except these two – what kind of jazz is that?) so injuries might play a part and alter this thing
This series is a tough one to call. My head says Golden State but my heart says Cleveland. Golden State have the better team but Lebron and his mob aren’t coming here to make up numbers.
Verdict: Golden State in 6