Breaking down the NBA Finals and other questions
June 1, 2018
Well, at least Game 1 of the NBA Finals was interesting,
Yo, J.R. Smith, for the record the final score was Golden State 124, Cleveland 114. Knowing the score at the time is kind of key.
Game 1 leaves us with a few thoughts:
• What does LeBron James have to do to win a game? Seriously, I almost feel bad for the guy. He puts up a line of 51 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists and his team still doesn't win? OK, I really don't feel that bad for Bron-Bron, but it is a telling thing.
How does James do that — and he essentially needs to do put up 50-per night — four more times, minimum to give the Cavs a fighting chance?
• LeBron James is not a good general manager. Let's be honest, Tyronn Lue may have the title of coach, but LeBron is the coach. Did you know that some guy named Koby Altman is GM? But just like Lue, James dictates who comes and goes. I still want to know what happened between James and Kyrie Irving. Imagine if Irving didn't bolt for Boston and, in this parallel universe, Irving doesn't get hurt? We'd actually have a series.
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For all the Michael Jordan comparisons, this is where LeBron falls short. He does not raise his team like his Air-ness. Who the heck was Scottie Pippen before Jordan? He wasn't on the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Horace Grant? Bill Cartwright? Steve Kerr, who happens to be the Warriors coach? Jordan made them players.
LeBron won twice in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Give James credit, he and Irving lifted the Cavs out of a 3-1 deficit in 2016 Finals against the Warriors. But he's not on Jordan's level of supremacy.
• Replay is annoying, but it got it right when James was called for a block against Kevin Durant in the final minutes. James wasn't set. A high school ref could have made that call.
• Why are there three days between Game 1 and 2? Yes, the Cavaliers are probably staying in San Francisco, while the Warriors play in Oakland. But Bay Bridge traffic isn't that bad. Let's move this along.
• The Warriors are not good for the NBA. Let's face it, the playoffs have been a snoozer with the exception of the Western Conference Finals, which, in retrospect, are pretty much the NBA Finals. Warriors-Rockets provided some drama, but otherwise?
The Toronto Raptors face-planted in the second round. (No surprise.) The Celtics were a nice story before running out of gas. We knew this was going to be Warriors-Cavaliers, Part IV.
And the Warriors pretty much took a good portion of the regular season off, even looking somewhat disinterested during the postseason. They learned from 2015-16, when they won a record 73 regular season games that going full tilt during the 82-game slate is pointless. They ceded home-court advantage to the Rockets midway through the season.
While we've never had two teams in the Finals four years in a row, the Celtics and Lakers have met 10 times in the NBA Finals. At least those were interesting. The Warriors are just too good with Steph Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. It's not good for the sport.
• Where does LeBron go next? First of all, get ready for another wave of "Woe is Cleveland," because it seems like he'll jilt "The Land," worst jerseys ever, again. The 76ers appear to have cap room. The Lakers also have a ton of cap space and Los Angeles and James are a marketing match.
There's lots of buzz about Houston as Chris Paul and James are pals and we've seen the buddy movie before when James took his talent to South Beach.
• Surefire prediction: James and J.R. Smith won't be on the same team again.
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