Unless the Golden State Warriors relapse into boredom, the NBA Finals are going to end on Friday.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had their chance and blew it. They played a tremendous Game 1, only to be undone at the end by a missed George Hill free throw that could potentially have won the game, and then a brain cramp by much-maligned guard J.R. Smith, who apparently lost track of the score and dribbled out the clock with the game tied.
Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday in Cleveland and I think this is the Cavaliers’ last-gasp chance. If LeBron James can somehow hoist this team on his back with a line that reads something like 55 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists, then the Cavaliers at least think they have a semblance of making it a series.
But if the outrageously confident Warriors walk into Cleveland and walk all over LeBron and his band of not-so-merry men, then Game 4 on Friday is little more than a Warriors’ coronation and perhaps the last time we’ll see James in a Cleveland uniform.
I think everybody knew how this series was going to play out. Give Cleveland credit for playing a spirited Game 1. I also think Golden State looked at the odds-makers and felt like all it had to do was show up, go through the motions and pick up the win.
Game 2, predictably, was a Warriors rout, even though Cleveland did something few teams ever do and that’s outscore Golden State in the third quarter. Normally the Warriors shine in that quarter after coach Steve Kerr lashes them at halftime for not putting the pedal to the metal.
Let’s face it, the NBA is Golden State and then everybody else is living in its world. When Steph Curry is draining parabolas from near halfcourt and Kevin Durant is silky-smoothing his way to 30 points, nobody can beat them. Throw in the offensive artistry of Klay Thompson, who may be the second-best pure shooter in the NBA behind Curry, and the all-around game of the annoying Draymond Green, it doesn’t matter who the fifth guy is. Heck, the Warriors’ “Big 4” could probably beat some the NBA’s ham-and-eggers in a 4-on-5 matchup.
There are many who believe a dynasty like Golden State’s is good for the game, just like the Bulls during the Jordan years and the Celtics of the 1960s. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I like seeing new blood, which has been the case for baseball and football. You almost never see a team win the World Series back-to-back or a team win the Super Bowl in successive years.
The New York Yankees were once a dynasty in baseball and the team everybody either totally liked or had total disdain for. I think a lot depends on how the team handles success.
For Golden State, I thought its first championship was a feel-good story since it had not won the title in a long time. But when Kevin Durant joined the team, it had an air of invincibility, almost to the level of cockiness. I’m just one of those people that wants a team to play the game and act like it’s been there before. I don’t think Golden State falls into that category, but you have to give it its due. It truly is the dynasty of this era.