The Trilogy: NBA Finals


If you’re looking for a 3-part series, you usually look for movie trilogies. The public perception says the first movie is usually the classic. The second movie is generally harder to top than the first one. And the third movie is the wild card (you’re not sure what you’re going to get). From what I experienced, the first movie is the best, the second movie is a let down, and the third movie is slightly better than the second one. Personally, I enjoyed The Matrix trilogy but others may differ. Lord Of The Rings is another iconic trilogy that people celebrated. Those movies gives you a beginning, middle, and ending.

With that being said, it’s hard to find a good trilogy these days, but we might finally get one starting June 1st. This will be the 3rd consecutive meeting between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers with enormous anticipation. 

In the first matchup in 2015, the Golden State Warriors won their first NBA Title in over 40 years, beating Cleveland in 6 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans felt that the loss was a fluke because Kevin Love was out for the postseason with a shoulder injury that occurred in the first round and Kyrie Irving injured his knee in game one of the NBA Finals. Even though LeBron James was without his All-Star teammates, he still put on an outstanding performance and kept the series interesting. 

In last year NBA Finals matchup, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship by edging out the Warriors in 7 games and also coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit. The Golden State Warriors and their fans would say if it wasn’t for Draymond Green being suspended for game five or Andrew Bogut getting hurt, the Warriors would’ve been back to back defending champs. 

You can make excuses for both teams if you choose to but the fact of the matter is that we will finally get to see a “winner take all” meeting in this long awaited rubber match. What makes this main event still admirable is the additional on Kevin Durant to the Warriors last July. He is the ultimate x-factor in this series and also has the most pressure to win. The Warriors won 73 regular season games last season and are proven champions without him. If Golden State falls short for the second consecutive year, majority of the heat will be on Durant just because of his “power-shifting” free agency decision last summer. Anything less than holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy this season will leave a stain on his legacy.

In which seems to be a conclusive matchup between these two teams, this is projected to be the best series yet. There are no injuries. No one is on track of being suspended. Each team is coming into the series well rested. All we can hope for at this point is for the series to live up to the hype. We’ll get to see a healthy Kyrie Irving against a healthy Stephen Curry. We’ll witness Kevin Durant to try to get over the hump against LeBron James. The 3 point shooting of the Cavs will be tested by the Splash Brothers of the Dubs. JR Smith will probably be JR Smith, and Draymond Green’s antics may appear once or twice. And Kevin Love would want to have a better NBA Finals performance than last year. 

The series will come down to a few things. Whoever team’s role players can step up on the road will have a big advantage. We expect the stars to perform to a high level, but when you can get consistent productivity from a JaVale McGee and David West or Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, it will take some of the burden off the starters and make them less fatigued.

Another factor is 3 point shooting. Whichever team is hitting from behind the hot consistently will make it tough for the opponent to stay in the game. The Warriors have better long distance shooters, but the Cavaliers have plenty of long range depth.

My last key point is turnovers. Golden State’s only moderate weakness is being too careless with the basketball at times (that was one of the main reasons Cleveland was able to come back last year). The Cavs will continue to make them pay if that trend continues. If the Warriors can hold on to the ball, then the Cavaliers might have their hands full. 

Both teams come into the NBA Finals on dominant stretches. Golden State is undefeated in postseason play thus far and Cleveland only suffered one loss. The Warriors are the favorite in this series. Get your popcorn ready because part 3 should be rewarding for the average NBA fan.

Warriors in 6.

JGOOD

Where Is The (Kevin) Love?


The man that was traded for the NBA 2014 number one overall pick and the same man who was a double double machine in Minnesota, is now starting to be questioned if he can coexist with the other 2 of the big 3 in Cleveland with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Initially we all thought, including LeBron, that Kevin Love would be the missing piece for the city of Cleveland to end it’s drought of winning a championship. Kevin Love’s ability to rebound, stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting, and his fastbreak starting ability convinced LeBron and the Cavaliers to trade away Andrew Wiggins. What wasn’t taken into account was Love’s inability to defend, especially against the pick and roll and help side defense.

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Kevin Love signed a 5 hear, $110 million deal over the summer. While Irving was out at the beginning of the season, LeBron emphasized that Love would be the focal point of the offense. Last year, Kevin would look misplaced and lost within the system with James and Irving on the court. Once Kyrie returned in December, much of the same continued. When Cleveland initially made the trade, they promised Kevin that he would receive his (max) contract. I’m starting to think they just gave him his money based on that reason alone, and not because they wanted to use him long term (at this point). At times, the team would take him out during the 4th quarter of his defensive deficiencies. If you can’t play in the 4th because of that or the inability to hit free throws (other players qualify here), then you don’t deserve a max contact in my opinion (don’t you agree?). And if you don’t deserve a max contract but is currently under a max contract, then you’re overrated. Being teamed up with LeBron has exposed Kevin Love’s flaws on the national stage. When he was in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio was always hurt so Kevin did everything. Love has 11 20-point-20-rebound games in his career. None of them has happened since joining the Cavaliers. I’m convinced to say that he is the most overrated player in the NBA at the moment. Not taking away from what he’s excellent at but when you’re on the same team as LeBron and you’re outcasted and isolated by your own teammates and in the middle of trade rumors, then you wonder why Minnesota gave him a 4 year contract extension instead of a max contract the first time around. There’s no love in Minnesota. There’s starting to have no love in Cleveland. So my question is where is the love?

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JGOOD