It’s that time again, the basketball stars have aligned and we get to see seven (hopefully) games of basketball bliss when the best player in basketball goes against the best team in basketball. This is the stuff semi-erotic basketball fanfics are made of. And as per usual, the Armchair team has something to say.
Serge: Picture that one scene from the Avengers, but re-imagined. As Steve Kerr walks into Dave Blatt’s office.
We have an army. We have an endless supply of interchangeable role players. The Oracle at our back. Steph and Klay.
We have LeBron.
This is pretty much what is going on. On one hand, you have one of the best teams out there right now. The one that not only goes against all conventional wisdom of what it takes to win a NBA Finals series, but also does it so well we forget about all wisdom all together. This is nirvana.
By all means, this series has to be about Steph Curry vs. LeBron James. Possibly the best player in basketball vs. the MVP (because giving LeBron the MVP every year is just boring) at this point. It’s literally the most perfect human being and closest we’ll ever come to seeing a cross breed between a lion and a cheetah play basketball and a player who doesn’t look like he should even be on the court. They’re so polarizingly opposite it’s great, but they’re both extremely fantastic at what they do. This series should be about Steph Curry vs. LeBron James. What it’s going to be about is Draymond Green.
This is going to be a long and very grueling job interview/salary renegotiation for Draymond who will most likely guard LeBron on one end and make sure Cavs can’t slack on the other. He takes pride in what he does. He hinted, with the subtlety of a meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, he should have won DPOY. And he has been the heart and soul of this team. Now he has to do it all one more time, for 7 games.
In the end, I think the Cavs are just too shallow and defensively outmatched for the Warriors. It’s unfair that Golden State has Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes to guard LeBron. It’s unfair that they can go big to match MozGod and Thompson or small and run them out of the gym (I will also bet an unlimited amount of rupees, yen or dollars on the fact that Draymond can defend Thompson in the post). It’s unfair that Steph Curry basically redefines the laws of gravity, physics and the way a person’s hands interact with a round rubber object such as a basketball. All of that should be enough with only one caveat: LeBron is still LeBron and when he kicks it into the gear no one else even knew existed, when he plays like the man who made 5 straight Finals appearances, when he injects himself with whatever serum they engineered in the Project X labs… All bets are off.
Prediction: Warriors in 6.
Alex: Sorry Serge this was the most fitting pop culture reference I could think of, Stephen Curry is coming for the King (under the Mountain)
Well they’re finally here, the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, and my word are we in for an absolute explosion of narratives no matter how this series plays out.
The Warriors just finished a 67-15 regular season ( top 10 in NBA History) with the league MVP (and most vineable player of the past 5 years) and we’re still going to have to listen to the asinine “can a three point shooting team win in the NBA” argument. On the other side we have Cleveland who have been dragged through a sadsack Eastern conference by the league’s best player LeBron James. If James somehow manages to will this depleted Cavaliers team with a hobbled Kyrie Irving to an NBA Finals would serve to further affirm his status as one of the all time greatest players to play in league. If he Loses his 2-4 NBA finals record will be attacked by Kobe fans, and Skip Bayless on First Take like frat boys to dollar beer night. Have I mentioned that Steph is the most Vineable player in the league? https://vine.co/v/OEp5Ym506ta/embed/postcard?audio=1
Golden State has so many weapons to go with offensively in a smooth and effective offensive system, spearheaded by arguably (already) the greatest shooter to ever play the game. Not only this but the Warriors have more defensive versatility than the entire Eastern Conference. A single matchup or man doesn’t stop a player of LeBron’s caliber unless that man is Boris Diaw, and the Warriors have so many different defensive matchups to throw at Lebron and coach Blatt’s lineups. By the way Boris isn’t as fat as you think he’s just been cultivating mass for the long cold French winters…for 5 years.The Cavaliers haven’t faced a defense as strong as the Warriors #1 rated one at all in the playoffs let alone their flamethrower of an offense. Expect to see Andre Igoudala, Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes and even Klay Thompson at times take their turn on Lebron ( Please, for your own sake don’t click this link ). One of Blatt’s favorite lineups with Lebron playing as a traditional 5 offensively with Tristan Thompson at the four will be matched up against the league’s runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green. Can and will Draymond shut down LeBron James? Absolutely not, but with LeBron shooting %26.8 on jumpshots from outside the paint over the course of the playoffs and 17% from the three ( and still averaging 30-10-8 *tear*) keeping him off the block and out of the paint will be a must. The Warriors also have the homecourt advantage at oracle arena where they have lost 3 games in the regular season and playoffs combined, they only have to protect their homecourt and take one game in Cleveland. The Warriors not only have the overwhelming talent, they have the versatility and the identity to bring their team its first championship since 1974-1975.
The Cavs have the top ranked offense and defense of the playoffs, this is a team who stayed out of the top 10 in defensive efficiency that has really flipped the switch come playoff time. Despite this they were probably aided by playing the weak Celtics and anemic Bulls on their way. For Cleveland to have a chance in this match-up they first and foremost LeBron James is going to have to be an absolute monster, oh wait he’s already averaging 30-10-8 over the playoffs? Just uh… well try to shoot better… I guess. Lebron is going to need to correct the shooting issues that have plagued him over the course of the playoffs to prevent the Warriors dropping their bigmen into the paint in pick and roll coverage early. The Cavs need a healthy and effective Kyrie Irving which they’re unlikely to get due to tendinitis and a litany of other injuries. Tristan Thompson’s absolute domination of the offensive glass will have to continue and the Cavs will have to figure out a way to defend the Warriors 1-5 Pick and Roll with Timofey Mosgov manning the 5 spot against Steph Curry. Mosgov isnt the ideal matchup here as hes not quick enough to hedge and retreat so it’ll be interesting to see coach Blatt’s adjustments. Iman Shumpert and all the Cavs role players will be essential in their ability to stay glued to shooters like Klay Thompson… and maybe Matthew Dellydova can get someone ejected from another game once or twice? A major positive for Cleveland is that Iman Shumpert made sure to apologize to the mighty Lil B so as to not fall victim to the Based God’s curse that has obviously plagued Kevin Durant and James Harden. The Cavs and coach Blatt are also going to have to continue sacrificing Lambs and non believers to whichever heathen god that has prevented the Mighty Enigma JR Smith from turning back into THIS JR Smith all season:
Prediction: Unfortunately for the Cavs this series isnt just Steph Curry vs LeBron James. King Lebron under the Mountain is dead and Warriors in 6 . Cleveland must continue to pray to the mighty Earl Smith in the sky, maybe he’ll save them.