The Addison Recorder doesn’t talk about the NBA much…until it gets to the really interesting time of the year. In this four-part series, Alex and Travis will talk about what’s getting them excited for the NBA Playoffs.
Travis: If this four part series has proven anything, it is that there is a reason we don’t do a whole lot of writing on the NBA. I think I’m on record as being wrong about the Cavs at nearly every level of the playoffs. I thought the lack of Kevin Love would do them in against a Chicago team that finally seemed to be clicking. I thought that the Hawks would destroy them with their nu-wave Spurs passing attack. I thought their thin bench would do them in at least twice. And here we are.
Meanwhile, the Warriors are the reason we can keep doing this, because here they are – without breaking a sweat, really.
I remember reading Lebron’s big article in SI last year, thinking that any team with championship potential in Cleveland would take a long time to coalesce, that it would take a few years and some savvy moves to pull a team together. Well, the savvy moves came when Timofey Mozgov, Imam Shumpert, and JR Smith joined in on King James’ hunt for another ring, throwing that long hunt out the window. It’s been fun.
But I don’t see it continuing.
Tristan Thompson has been a revelation on the offensive boards in the playoffs. Kyrie Irving hasn’t been playing at 100%, but it hasn’t mattered because Matthew Dellavedova somehow turned into Punky Brewster’s evil Aussie twin. The Cavs’ D in particular has been stellar – even when adjusted for the crappy Eastern Conference’s underwhelming performance, they average out at something like 8 points better than the Warrior’s defense. A bunch gets made out of the Dubs historic 3-point shooting, but Cleveland isn’t far behind them in overall effectiveness. Oh, and the best player in the world is playing in his 5th straight Finals, something not seen since the 60’s heyday of Bill Russell.
I don’t think that we can discount that at all. Kobe never did that. Jordan retired or he might have done it – but he didn’t do it. Magic, Kareem, Bird – none of them did it. Sure, James’s all time record in the Finals is 2-3, and a big product of his making it/being able to dominate every postseason for the last five years has been the underwhelming Eastern Conference (seriously, I could probably put up 15-8-5 in some of these first round series he’s played in). He’s still done it. It’s righteously hard to make it to the Finals even once. So many things have to break right. Lebron just seems to cancel out a certain amount of the margin for error for any team he’s on at this point in the season. It’s fun to watch.
But I don’t see the Cavs winning. It’s one thing to sweep a Hawks team that is running on fumes. It’s another to go up against a Golden State team that just finished a historically dominant season. I know the romantic statement is to say that they play until the final whistle blows…but I don’t see that happening. Personally? Dubs in five.
Bean? What do you see happening?
Bean: Pretty much the same as you. LeBron is worth thrice his weight in gold on a basketball court, clearly. Like you mentioned, five straight Finals appearances is a mind-blowing statistic. I can’t think of another contemporary player in any team sport who could single-handedly propel his squad to the cusp of a championship with such regularity. Part of that is inherent to how basketball differs from other sports. It’s a game where point totals run into the hundreds on a nightly basis, which means that the sample size for performance is very large. When the sample size is large, that means the most productive and efficient players can dominate statically and erase unpredictable factors in ways that are not possible in sports like soccer, hockey, football, or baseball. So when an all-time talent like LeBron is playing in an efficient system with a decent supporting cast his dominance can literally create more wins than would be expected.
All that being said, a glance at the Win Shares for the Cavaliers opposition in the Finals should lead the sad people of Cleveland to buy lots of alcohol before tomorrow night. You all will need it, because the title drought won’t be ending in June 2015. These Warriors are just too damn good. They almost feel too good to sustain. It’s only Kerr’s first season and no one a year ago thought Steph Curry would become the 14-15 MVP. Rivals will spend the off-season picking apart Steve Kerr’s tactics and prying away key Warriors players. I bet Golden State knows that, too. They’re a long-suffering franchise making a beautiful, blitzing run towards what may be their best (or only?) shot at the championship. Unless things go terribly wrong I expect the Warriors to play like they’re on fire in NBA Jam and beat the Cavs with relative ease.
I think LeBron will take over and win at least one game all by himself, but that won’t be enough. Warriors in six for me, as well.