I guess some people just don’t have the stomach for basketball excellence in all of its shapes and forms.
Yes, for the fourth consecutive year, we’ll watch the Cleveland Cavaliers play the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. And to hear some tell it, it’s the NBA’s worst possible scenario. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The NBA is trash. Everyone knew, before the season even started, that the Cavs and Warriors would be in the Finals.”
“The Cavs vs the Warriors playing again in the Finals for the fourth year in a row is terrible for the NBA.”
“The NBA is rigged.”
“The powers that be want to push this agenda and false narrative that continues to praise LeBron, despite the fact that he’s 3-5 in The Finals and will never be as good as Michael Jordan. He’s only been to eight straight Finals because the competition is weak.”
If you’ve uttered any one of the previous absurdities or something similar, please do us all a favor. Not only should you refrain from watching and subsequently commenting on this year’s Finals, but you should never ever watch another basketball game again.
We have never witnessed an NBA Finals where two teams faced each other four times in a row. Erin Simon provides a Quick Hitter on why we should appreciate this rare match up.
Because if you can’t love what’s about to unfold, you have no true appreciation for greatness and this beautiful game.
Yes, the Cavs are the league’s biggest championship underdogs since Allen Iverson willed his woefully undermanned Philadelphia 76ers squad to one victory in the 2001 NBA Finals against the Shaq and Kobe Lakers machine that swept the Western Conference playoffs.
Did that stop us from marveling and being in awe of Iverson’s 30 first-half points, and eventual 48 overall in Philly’s shocking Game 1 overtime victory?
Or Shaq’s 28 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists, and eight blocks in Game 2, a damn near QUADRUPLE-DOUBLE!? Or Kobe’s 32 and Iverson’s 35 points respectively in the Sixers’ five-point loss in Game 3? Or Iverson’s 35 points again in Game 4, which were overshadowed by Shaq’s 34 points and 14 rebounds?
Or Shaq’s series-closing 29 points and 13 rebounds, with Iverson battling brilliantly with a 37-point barrage of his own?
Allen Iverson led the Sixers to a surprising game 1 victory over the favorited Lakers in one of the most memorable performances in NBA Finals history. About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada.
We all knew the outcome of that series before Game 1 ever tipped.
And yet, despite the Lakers smashing the 76ers four games to one, those who knew what they were witnessing still talk about the fond memories of Iverson going at Kobe’s neck, of Kobe blossoming into a world-class talent, and of Shaq’s exclamation point with his work against defensive savant Dikembe Mutombo declaring him among the greatest big men the game has ever seen.
While this year’s Warriors squad returns all of its major weapons intact, minus Andre Iguodala who’s sidelined at least for Game 1 due to injury, this Cavs team in no way resembles last year’s team, which got smoked by Golden State in five games.
Kyrie Irving fled to Boston to spread his own wings. Four of their big offseason acquisitions – Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, and Isaiah Thomas – were moved at the trade deadline, along with key contributors to their 2016 title team in Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye. Those guys were replaced by George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in an attempt to get longer, younger and more athletic.
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Cleveland struggled often this year, so it was no simple foregone conclusion that they’d return to The Finals.
And when they went down 2-0 to the Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the Playoffs and found themselves in the same 2-0 hole against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, the LeBron haters of the world rejoiced, prematurely ejaculating at the imminent demise of King James.
It took a string of Herculean performances for LeBron to carry this squad to his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance.
But let’s be honest, the road more than likely is going to end here.
This series will be a one-sided affair in the Warriors favor. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be captivated by Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the Warriors’ overall brilliance on the offensive AND defensive ends.
Minus Kyrie Irving’s 30-point potential every night, LeBron is facing his toughest task in all of his Finals appearances, with a supporting cast that might have difficulty winning the rookie-sophomore game at All-Star Weekend.
But Golden State did look vulnerable at times against the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, which offers a glimmer of hope in terms of some momentary intrigue. And let’s not forget that the potential for upsets is what makes sports great.
The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 deficit for the first time in NBA Finals history and brought the city of Cleveland their first championship since 1964. Let’s take an in-depth look back at the classic 7 game series between the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
Do you remember the #8 seed Warriors taking out the #1 seed Mavericks, a 65-win team, in the opening round of the 2007 playoffs? The Nuggets beating the Sonics in 1994? The Pistons beating the Lakers for the championship in 2004? The ’84 Nets upsetting the defending champion Sixers?
Or to bring is close to home, how about the Cavaliers two years ago, down 3-1, coming back to beat a 73-win Warriors team?
The 2018 NBA Finals will showcase the greatest player of this generation going up against its greatest team in David vs Goliath fashion. As crazy as it is to refer to LeBron James as David, that’s exactly what he is in this series. This Golden State team is among the greatest the NBA has ever seen.
Can LeBron pull it off? The odds are woefully stacked against him but doubt that man at your peril.
Cleveland winning the 2018 NBA title would be akin to Buster Douglass knocking Mike Tyson senseless, Appalachian State’s football squad beating Michigan, the No. 16 seed UMBC Retrievers toppling No. 1 Virginia in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Joe Namath and the Jets beating the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III and the Team USA Hockey squad shocking the Soviets to win the Gold Medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Who wouldn’t want to watch to see something like that potentially happen?
Check out the best from LeBron James from this year’s NBA regular season and playoffs so far with the Cleveland Cavaliers! Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass
And even if Cleveland gets smacked, you don’t think LeBron, KD, Steph, Klay, and Draymond are gonna give us something to talk about for years to come, in the same way that Shaq, Kobe and Allen Iverson did in their 2001 mismatch?
Regardless of the outcome, there’s going to be greatness on display in this year’s NBA Finals. I’m always down for some of that.
And you should too. Unless you aren’t a true fan of basketball and generational greatness, and simply someone that watches it and bloviates ignorantly without fully understanding what it is you’re seeing.