After a wild and frenzied free-agent offseason that saw so many stars switch teams and align with other stars to create super teams all over NBA America, many believed the league had changed.
There were so many buying into the idea that no one would be able to predict the two teams that would meet in the NBA Finals this June.
In other words, the championship was up for grabs.
Most had ditched the idea that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers would meet in the championship for the fourth straight year.
So much for that.
The NBA playoffs are what we expected them to be – the same song and dance.
As the conference semifinals are underway, its hard to look at the teams left and not think we are headed for yet another repeat, that the offseason was all for naught.
Before the season started, I picked the Warriors-Cavs. Before the playoffs started, I picked the Warriors-Cavs. And today, I picked the Warriors-Cavs.
The media predictions that this year would be different and that the usual postseason teams would be upset was totally overhyped.
All that noise started with the Oklahoma City Thunder. They went all in trying to win the West.
The Thunder had a super team with three No. 1s. For sure, they were contenders. Not only did they struggle to get to the playoffs, but lost in the first round to the Utah Jazz.
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It was embarrassing, to say the least.
Enter the Houston Rockets.
Their connection was fire from the get-go. Not only did Harden have an MVP season, but the Rockets secured the best record in the league and looked unstoppable.
But the regular season has never been an issue when it comes to Harden or Paul. Its the postseason that’s been the big issue.
Both have gone south and flopped in big games over their careers. Houston coach Mike DAntoni has wilted with great regular season teams in the postseason as well.
On Wednesday night, the Rockets championship missile crashed in Houston. The Jazz won the game and got a split, and now they’re heading to Utah for the next two games.
The Rockets hardly look like a shoo-in in terms of getting to the Finals as many predicted throughout the season.
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So many had written off the Warriors. After all, so many said, they werent the No. 1 seed, they were beat up and injured, Steph Curry wasnt going to play in the first round, they were tired from the past three years of championship runs.
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Ask the San Antonio Spurs. They lost in five games to the Warriors without Curry. The New Orleans Pelicans, who swept Portland in first round, are down 0-2 to Golden State in the second round.
The Warriors, who were 12-0 en route to the Finals last season, are 6-1 and halfway home to getting there again.
Last, but not least are the Cavs.
Many thought Cleveland would breeze in the East after they dealt half their team away at the trade deadline. There was only one issue. The Cavs arent that good – even with younger role players.
Still, they will get to the Finals again. Unlike past years, it will be entirely by default. The teams in the way simply are as flawed as the Cavs.
But those teams dont have LeBron James, a tough player to beat four out of seven times in a series.
Exhibit A as to why the NBA playoffs are the same is the Toronto Raptors. They were No. 1 seed in East and choked in Game 1 at home against the Cavs. The Barneys, er, Raptors missed their final 11 shots in regulation before losing in OT.
LeBron James Triple-Double Full Highlights | Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors | Eastern Semis Game 1 | 2018 NBA Playoffs Subscribe, Like & Comment for More! ——— Follow our Instagram: https://goo.gl/Syw81B Follow our Twitter: https://goo.gl/5aata7
Sadly, weve seen this movie before. Big regular season winners, horrible postseason team.
As for the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, both are up and coming teams and either one will eventually take down James if he stays in Cleveland.
But that day isnt now. Boston is missing their biggest star, Kyrie Irving. And Philly is still young, not fully developed for a primetime upset.
In June, it will be Warriors-Cavs. Dont act surprised.