The NBA is broken.
Damaged, if you think that’s too strong.
Either way, the 2018 NBA Finals proved that the basketball we knew and loved is gone.
The league that once offered edge-of-your-seat action in June is now just a forgone conclusion. To be honest, a waste of time.
That makes two years in a row that the Warriors have dominated LeBron James’ team. Last season, Golden State won in five games. If it weren’t for the Cavs' history-making shooting night in Game 4, they would have been swept.
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And the Warriors would have ended the postseason 16-0 instead of 16-1.
And while Golden State lost a number of games this postseason - including three to the Houston Rocketsin the conference finals - most never doubted that the Warriors were en route to a second straight title and third championship in the last four years.
If only it felt like a dynasty you could admire and respect.
No wonder the TV ratings were mostly down or flat in the best-of-seven series. Peeps have already seen this movie. There was little to no drama. For sure, the Washington Generals could have provided the same fodder.
Even the Warriors didn’t sell out Game 1 of the series in Oakland.
Fans are smart. Competition sells, not rubber stamping a title.
Kevin Durant, who joined the Warriors as a free agent two years ago, has to be thrilled. But his decision impacted more than just the OKC Thunder and Warriors.
Durant derailed the league, sent it in this place almost as dark as when championship games were shown on tape delay on TV after the late, local news.
“Grateful and excited that I get this opportunity, and it feels so good to be a part of a group like this,” said Durant, who won the Finals MVP for the second June. “To win two championships is - that’s what you want as an NBA player.”
Too bad it isn’t what NBA fans want, especially when the Warriors’ success comes at the expense of competitive balance in the NBA.
And we don’t want to hear all the nonsense that the Lakers and Celtics won all the time in the past and fans didn’t have a problem with it in the 1980's.
There’s a huge difference, though.
Other teams had a chance to compete for a title. Fans around the league honestly believed their team was in the running. It’s just not the case anymore. And that’s a shame.
The Golden State Warriors repeat as NBA Champions in a sweep, winning Game 4,108-85. Stephen Curry scored 37 points (7 3pt FG) and Kevin Durant had a triple-double, 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, taking home his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP Award.
That’s why the Vegas odds-makers will make the Warriors the favorites again in 2019. And the second-best odds will go to any team James is on next season.
It appears that LBJ - who can opt out of his contract - will be on the move again, leaving Cleveland - his hometown - for a second time in his 15-year career.
And remember, it’s James who started the mess we’re in. He, not Durant, ruined the league.
That squad went to four straight NBA championships, winning two of them.
The Warriors simply followed James’ lead. They figure if the best player in the league wants to play with a stacked deck, why not do the same thing.
Enter Durant, who joined a record-breaking 73-win team as a free agent.
Many will argue that the league is healthy and thriving. They will try to convince you this is business as usual in the NBA.
Don’t buy it.
The Warriors would have you believe they are a combo of being lucky and special. The correct term is stacked.
“There’s so much that goes into just getting to this stage and playing in the Finals,” Steph Curry said. “So there is a reason last year was the first time two teams had gone three in a row in the Finals and this year being the fourth.”
Yep. And it isn’t because we are watching something special, something that has gripped the nation.
Nope. It’s called noncompetitive basketball at the highest level.
It’s called a league broken and damaged by a team wanting to win at all costs.
It might be great for Oakland, but not the rest of NBA America. It has to be fixed.