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

History In The Making (On Father’s Day)


On this Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day!), this game 7 of the NBA Finals will not only end the 2015-16 NBA season, but we will see history in the making not matter who wins tonight.

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For the city of Cleveland, this could end the misery of not winning a championship in over 50 years by any of the major franchises. As a Chicago Bulls fan, I despise the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James (however, I do have respect for his greatness and his abilities). As for Cleveland, the city with a bunch of factories according to Joakim Noah, I feel bad for. Chicago Cubs fans might be the only ones suffering more than Cleveland so I get it.

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For the Bay Area, this would cap off a season that could never be duplicated. This is the first team ever to win 73 games and only have single-digit losses. Also, this was the first time in league history that a player was named MVP by an unanimous vote. And to defeat the Cavaliers for a second straight year with Cleveland having a healthy team this time around, will solidify their place as one of the greatest teams ever. The Golden State Warriors backs are against the wall dealing with injuries of their own and losing back to games for the second time all year (Oklahoma City Thunder series). If they lose, it would be an epic collapse and one of the biggest disappointments in league history. What will the defending champs do?

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Nevertheless, we will see an entertaining game tonight on this Father’s Day. Once again, Happy Father’s Day!

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JGOOD

Curry Vs LeBron 2.0


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The rematch, that most of America wanted to see, starts tonight. Golden State virtually have the same team with (ironically) the additional of former Cleveland Cavaliers player Anderson Varejao. The Cavs (basically) have the same team except that they have included a “seldom-used” Mo Williams, and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are actually healthy.

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Cleveland has looked “championship-ready” by only losing 2 playoff games (sweeping the first 2 opponents). Golden State on the other hand has dealt with a knee injury to Steph Curry (early on) and has won 3 straight elimination games, including game 7 against an elite Oklahoma City Thunder team, to earn their consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

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I expect this series to be VERY entertaining and fun. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James should put up big numbers, the unanimous MVP and fellow splash brother Klay Thompson should put on a show, both benches will perform well, and only the “hungriest” will prevail.

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I think the key matchup is Draymond Green against Kevin Love. Earlier in the year I’ve called Love the most overrated player in the league because of his contract and lack of playing time in the 4th quarter (if any). I think Green will dominate this matchup as long as he’s not kicking anyone like Lui Kang. I got the Warriors in 7.

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JGOOD

Game 7


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Game 7… The end of a battle… Equivalent to a season finale of your favorite television show (mines would be The Flash)… Similar to the last movie in a trilogy (like The Matrix trilogy)…  It is one of the most prolific events across all sports (second only to The Super Bowl in my opinion).

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Game 7 is a different atmosphere. The teams have become very accustomed to their opponent over the previous 6 games. There’s no more making  adjustments at this point. Your strategy is not surprising and almost irrelevant. At this point, it’s all about heart… Who wants it more… And how bad do you want it.

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The Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the latest victims of this scenario. In my opinion I believe either the Warriors win by double digits, win a close game, or the Thunder sneaks by in Oracle arena. This could be the last game in the Durant/Westbrook era (Kevin Durant is a free agent in July).

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What seemed like a sure trip the NBA Finals, will make for an epic game one way or another. When being down 3 games to 1 and having Klay Thompson making 11 3 pointers in an improbable game 6 win sets up for something magical… And having this game on Memorial Day, will make it that much more memorable.

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JGOOD

The People’s Champ


Not to be confused with former WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (even though that was my favorite wrestler growing up)
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Who would’ve ever thought we would see a player like Stephen Curry in our generation? Think about it… the players in the NBA today compared to when I was a kid growing up are more athletic, but not as fundamentally sound, or have the overall IQ. Anthony Davis is a freak of nature but you don’t see the post game foot work like Kevin Garnett or banking in 15 footers like Tim Duncan (yet). James Harden took Manu Ginobili’s Euro Step to another level but the man can’t defend a parked car with a boot attached to the front left rim. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are once in a lifetime type of players. There’s no one with LeBron’s size and strength combination. There’s no one with Durant’s height, wingspan, and to be a pure shooter. Russell Westbrook’s athleticism attributes are not even comparable to any one (Derrick Rose before the injuries). Usually NBA Superstars have something or multiple abilities about them that you just can’t teach… that basically the average person doesn’t possess. Curry, on the other hand, is different.
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Steph Curry doesn’t have the power and speed combination of LeBron. He doesn’t have the athletic makeup of Westbrook. He doesn’t have the height and wingspan of Durant. He’s not the fastest or strongest player at his position and definitely not the most explosive. What separates him is the fact that he’s a perfectionist with a legendary work ethic. His ability to exceed expectations and raise his game to new heights are due to the long hours of commitment that he has produced. I watched him at Davidson and became a fan during his junior year when his school made some noise in the middle of March Madness. Davidson ousted Gonzaga, dropped Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, and the rest of Georgetown, stomped Wisconsin, and was 2 points shy of reaching the Final Four after a loss to a deep Kansas team featuring Mario Chalmers. The man used to be double and triple teamed on a regular and was still scoring at will. He’s been doing this at every level. Scouts were saying that his game wouldn’t translate to the next level. They also said he wasn’t a true point guard. The fact that he’s doing whatever he wants in the NBA is beyond remarkable.
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Another crucial point that needs to be made is that anybody can be just like him. The average person doesn’t have to jump the highest or run the fastest or become the strongest to have the same skill set of Stephen Curry. You’ve seen an abundance of kids practicing their ball handling or shooting all over social media because of what Curry can do. Mark Jackson said that Curry’s style of play is hurting the game… and I would have to disagree. Yes, Curry shoots a lot of 3’s in transitions but, those are good shots for him. And of course they teach you the opposite during basketball practice. The thing is when you’re that good of a shooter and you’re in rhythm, those are good shots. Also, the fact that he can freeze the defense and space the floor in transition is a bonus. Even with his high volume shots behind the arc, kids looking up to him are starting to become more fundamental, and watching the Golden State Warriors team in general are exposing them to selfless basketball (along with San Antonio).
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The scary thing that I didn’t even mention yet is that Steph is getting better. Initially, ankle injuries delayed his growth in his first couple of seasons. However, once he was finally healthy, you started to see the birth of a superstar. He shattered the record for most 3 pointers in a season 3 years ago and has beaten his own record every year (currently on pace to beat it again). The Carolina protégé is on pace to have a higher scoring efficiency than Wilt Chamberlain and is scoring more points in the paint than Blake Griffin and LeBron James… Let that sink in… ESPN has ranked him the 4th best point guard of all time behind Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and John Stockton. Initially I thought it was too early to have him in the conversation but when you’re constantly watch him perform, it’s hard to overlook his greatness. I still don’t know how I feel about him ranked higher than Isaiah Thomas, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd (all 3 of them are above extraordinary), but all I can do is sit back and appreciate the baby face assassin take over the league. LeBron used to lead the league in all star votes, effortlessly, for the past decade. Now, Stephen Curry is trumping him and the separation between LeBron and whoever’s next isn’t wide. Eventually, you would have seen the transition of dethroning the king because of father time… and if it was to be this soon, nobody expected it to be the current reigning MVP… except the MVP himself.
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Steph Curry is a special player and you shouldn’t take what we are witnessing for granted. A couple of years ago, he was just known for being a great shooter. Since then, he has won an MVP and a NBA Title, and is currently on pace to winning back to back MVPs (like Jordan 96,97) with the leagues best record. He has become a hero to the Bay Area and now is becoming a global icon. There’s not too many people who doesn’t discredits any of his accomplishments. The sky is truly the limit for him. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next from number 30… He still has a long career ahead of him, but in the present, he is the people’s champ.
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JGOOD