…And I actually grew up rooting for one of these teams and respecting the other.
I remarked early in these playoffs that it’d be saving everyone a lot of time, energy and whatever else to just fast forward to the conclusion of the Warriors/Cavs NBA Finals trilogy.
Well, I’ve rethought that. Just fast forward to Warriors/Cavs Game 7.
…By the end of the week, I may be saying skip ahead to 3:53 go go in Game 7.
I’m not wrong.
Thus far with a few notable quarters in the Spurs/Rockets series this NBA postseason has closely resembled a set of late-April games in the regular season…complete with jawing at mascots. Hell, LeBron is so bored he’s been shooting with his left hand. Andre Iguodala has been so cold that he had to distract by talking about nightlife in SLC. As a reflection of that, it’s been a somnolent run for the Warriors — and ostensibly the rest of the league as they know the inevitable end game — thus far for sure.
That’s not to say there isn’t business to take care of vs. San Antonio. As long as Gregg Popovich (suddenly my favorite NBA coach of all time since the Trump regime took hold) and would-be MVP Kawhi Leonard taking the floor they’ll keep it close and perhaps hand the Warriors their first loss(es) this postseason.
There are a few story lines as well. Notably, will the Spurs employ the same three bigs underneath/pick-and-roll strategy that forced the Rockets to dial from downtown?
“Please do it. Do it,” reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry said impassively during yesterday’s shoot around.
The very agnostic Popovich obliged Curry’s comments and said he’s going to prayer to slow the Warriors’ roll who inside and out might be the greatest NBA team of all time.
Compare the Warriors to the ’65 Boston Celtics (bigger, faster and better defenders) ’87 Los Angeles Lakers (shaper shooters and better rebounders) or ’97 Chicago Bulls (bigger underneath and though the Bulls might have them on physicality the Warriors offer five on the floor who can play every position so there’s no way for Pippin to work his defensive magic to free up Jordan) ….yes, there, I said it — because sport evolves, this season’s Warriors are the greatest NBA team of all time.
If there is one thing to watch for this Western Conference Finals it’s Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown. Brown, a league veteran and well-revered at that, will actually have to pull out the pen board a handful of times. Thus far, the Warriors, on the floor and from the bench, are acting as player-coaches with enough league veterans and emerging talent on their second squad to score at will and tick down the minutes when need be.
Popovich is the closest thing the present-day league has to a genius and Brown knows it. “He is doing a lot more than praying right now. He knows what he wants to do against us.”
…So there will be close quarters and stuff to dissect at halftime. But really, it’s all appetizers and a buffer of time for the league to prepare to get out of Golden State’s way and let them avenge last year’s final.