Four passes as the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the brink of elimination in the 2018 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
1. This is the end. No team’s ever come a 0-3 deficit in the NBA Finals. The Warriors have four future hall of famers. The Cavs have the greatest player in the world. It’s not nearly enough.
The whole idea of the Warriors stinks. A lot of people feel this way, but we’re betting off yelling clouds because our opinions don’t matter.
Golden State built its roster within the rules. They drafted well, acquiring Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green through their own due dilligence.
And then they got lucky.
The one year they needed cap space, they got it, thanks largely to Curry not being on a max contract in the summer of 2016. Throw in Kevin Durant deciding to take the easy way out, and they’re a team everyone in the league is trying to hunt down.
The NBA was robbed of a brilliant rivalry when Durant decided to ride the coattails of Curry and Klay.
Remember back to how awesome the 2016 Finals were. Throw 2015 in there, too. These were hard fought series, and maybe more so in 2016, because the Cavs were so devastated by injuries in 2015, either team had a chance to win.
The Cavs-Warriors matchup in The Finals got me thinking of other times a team came up short against the same team in a championship.
All I could come up with the Brooklyn Dodgers-New York Yankees rivalry of the 1950s.
Brooklyn and the Yankees played six times for the right to be called World Series champs from 1949-1956.
The Cavs got their one, overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 Finals By winning the Larry O’Brien trophy. LikeCleveland turned the basketball world on its head. Draymond Greene got on the phone and cried to Durant how much he was needed.
The NBA was robbed an awesome rivalry, but that’s the NBA. No sport can be impacted by free agency like roundball. And no one ever saw Durant to Golden State coming.
It stinks, but there’s no changing it. Until the Warriors break up or a another super team is formed, this is the world of basketball.
2. Love’s almost all-time great game
Kevin Love‘s almost greatest game: As Kevin Love compiled a double-double in the first half, scoring 15 points and hauling in 10 rebounds, I thought to myself: This is the best he’s played in four years.
He was assertive. He was making threes. He was putting the ball on the floor and driving to the rim.
And then he disappeared.
Love scored five more points in the second half. He finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Love drew a lot of heat in The Factory to play like a superstar. He did…for a half.
Love’s under contract for two more years at $50 million. He’s still a very good player, especially in the regular season. The Cavs must explore trading him, although I’m not sure the return would be all that impressive.
3. LeBron’s Decision 2.0 set to hit DEFCON-1
The four-letter network is unbearable to watch as hosts spew “infotainment,” and I definitely won’t be watching in the coming days as producers and anchors try to diefiy Kevin Durant for joining up with three Hall of Famers.
There’s going to be a lot of LeBron talk to, as in, where he’ll play next season.
Don’t see LeBron going out West, because he’ll have to contend with Golden State in the conference Finals.
The Rockets have been talked about because his buddy Chris Paul is there. Well, Paul’s not taking a paycut. They have Ryan Anderson on the books for $20 million and Eric Gordon for $13.5 million. Houston’s got work to do.
The Spurs have also been floated of late. Could LeBron’s presence sway Kawhi Leonard to come back into good graces with San Antonio?
James has never played for an elite coach. It would be interesting.
Of course, don’t discount the Cavs. Home means something to James. Will it be the only factor in his decision? No. But don’t totally ignore it, either.
For all the talk of Paul going to Houston, why not start talking about CP3 to the Cavs.
Cleveland’s going to have work to do though to prove to James it can win not just the conference finals, but the whole-she-bang.
With the eighth pick in the draft, Cleveland has the tools to make a significant trade. There’s also Love, as mentioned previously.
Otherwise, the Cavs’ hands are tied. Tristan Thompson has two years and $35 million remaining. He does one thing really, really well–offensive rebound.
J.R. Smith will earn $14.7 million next season. He’s under contract for 2019-2020, too, but only $3.8 million of the $15.6 million is guaranteed.
The final year of the deal may interest some teams, but they’ve got to pay him the entire 2018-2019 salary first. Not sure who would want to take that on.
Rumor has it that Smith was offered up before the trade deadline. There were no takers.
4. Livin’ and dyin’ beyond the arc
The 3-pointers never for came for the Cavaliers. The Wine & Gold made just 9-of-31 looks. If the team hit its regular-season average of 12, the Cavs win the game. LeBron was 1-of-6 from downtown. J.R. was an ugly 3-of-10. Kyle Korver was 0-2.