It’s year 4 of the Cleveland/Golden State NBA finals rivalry. Since 2015 we’ve seen LeBron James, JR Smith and Kevin Love vs. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Since 2011 we’ve seen LeBron James in the finals every year. Think about that for a second with LeBron: In the finals alone, since 2011, that’s 42 extra games (Not counting this year). Half a seasons worth of games just in the finals. We can debate all day about how LeBron has only won less than half of those appearances, the weakness of the Eastern Conference the past 10 years or that when he finally did get that first championship it took a super team to do it. However you choose to look at it, getting to the last batch of games after an 82 game season and 3 best of 7 series’ 8 years in a row is insane. This is the NBA. We aren’t talking one dominate High School in a weak classification. We are talking about the Worlds best basketball players and LeBron outlasts nearly all of them every season. It’s understandable when fans and writers discuss their disdain for how LeBron won 2 of his 3; teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade after the annoying, arrogant “decision.” I was right there with those opposed to his course of action. But fast forward to 2018 and he IS the super team. He’s the PG because they don’t have anyone better to bring the ball down the floor. He never comes out of games because there’s no one good enough to keep the Cavs afloat while he grabs a sprinkle of Gatorade. Kevin Love was a “star” back in Minnesota but obviously not a “super star” as the T-Wolves never got into the playoff with him at the helm. I am convinced that without James, Cleveland couldn’t even win 30 games , obviously keeping them out of the playoffs, not to mention a 4th shot at Golden State. So whatever angst I had toward LeBron James back in the summer of 2010 (the forming of Miami Heat’s super team) has been washed away with absolute respect for what he’s done during his second stint in Cleveland.
Now, onto the overall landscape of Cavs/Warriors. Are you bored with it? Tired of seeing LeBron take a team on his back in order just to make games competitive? Tired of seeing Steph Curry turn on some kind of switch that allows him to fire off 3 pointers at the speed of light? Tired of Draymond Green taunting even the likes of one of the greatest NBA players of all time? Not me. We are witnessing greatness. If Golden State wins, which is likely, we will see their 3rd championship in 4 years. Can you say Dynasty? All my life I’ve heard about those Boston Celtics and Showtime Lakers. I listen to those stories with envy as I never got to witness their greatness in real time. In the NFL, I hear about those epic defenses like the Steel Curtain, the purple people eaters and the Monsters of the Midway. Point being, those teams and units hold some of the most prolific history in all of sports. So why don’t we enjoy that kind of greatness while it’s happening? Tom Brady is one of the most hated guys in sports. The Spurs? They heard the “too boring” thing as well when they were winning their titles spread out over a decade or so. And now the Warriors. But in 10 or 20 years, we are going to talk about Golden State just like we talk about Boston, LA, Pittsburgh, Tiger Woods, the Bulls and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to name a few.
If LeBron James finds a way to win then we are looking at one of the greatest underdog performances of all time. Game 1, the Cavs were a 13 point dog and yet they were one JR Smith bonehead play away from winning. Instead the game went to OT and was absolutely exhilarating. 17.4 million viewers must have shared a similar sentiment as that was the number of viewers during game 1 according to deadline.com. Clearly fans want to see a potential dynasty secure another title or one of the leagues greatest pull off something we haven’t quite seen before. Or they just want to see the drama unfold; the charge call that wasn’t a charge that should have been a charge but the charge itself should have never been reviewed….’deep breath’….Draymond Green committing a lane violation during George Hill’s free throws…..JR Smith’s heroic rebound then earth shattering decision to dribble out the clock….Green’s taunting of the King…..we could go on and on. And that was just game 1.
So, is Golden State vs. Cleveland for a 4th time such a bad thing? Potential dynasty, one of the greats, player rivalry and of course, LeBron’s dress shorts all make for an entertaining end to an interesting NBA season.