We Have A Series

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3-2 at this point. 1 game left in Cleveland. Possible game 7 back in Oakland.

I said 4-2 Cavs so I’ve been disqualified for a bit now. I did predict Kyrie’s breakout.

The Warriors are a resilient, tricky bunch.

The Cavs have a lot of talent and heart too.

We all want a game 7, I think even Warriors fans want a game 7. They don’t want to clinch away from home again.


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Steph Curry has been disappointing in The Finals again. The regular season MVP seems to have some issue when high-level defense is played on his perimeter trick shot game.  When Curry isn’t making 3’s he isn’t doing much for his team. All this whispering about injury is bull. You either play or you don’t, phantom injuries that you won’t speak about don’t matter.

Cavs really need some offensive output from JR Smith and Kevin Love. I’d like to see some contribution from Channing Frye also.

Should be a battle Thursday. Here’s hoping the Cavs live to fight one more day. Game 7 winner takes all I like my chances with Bron and Kyrie.

Palms Get Sweaty and Backsides Get Tight

Thanks for the title, Stephen A. Smith

EPIC FINALS?

THE REMATCH.  FULL STRENGTH.  NO EXCUSES.

Cleveland Cavs

This is the year Cleveland, embrace it!

 

The breakout star of the finals will be Kyrie Irving. There’s still some people sleeping on this dude. He’s got the best handle in basketball. He’s perhaps the best finisher at the rim while rarely dunking. His jumper is liquid. He’s almost Steph Curry level in his difficulty to guard.

In last years Finals, on a bad knee he had like 23/7 against Curry before blowing his knee out completely.

Kyrie

Word

 

I can’t argue with the credentials and abilities of the Golden State Warriors. They are not easy to beat. They are beatable but almost impossible to kill in a 7 game series.

This isn’t about them. This is about the new champs taking it from the current champs. This is about power and finesse and hopefully some hard 90’s style fouls.

I don’t have a ton of analysis this year, I just feel it. Cavs in 6 or 5, it won’t get close to a game 7.

Party time this summer

Photo Credit: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo Credit: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

All To Plan

Prince’s passing has left me a bit shaken. I’m avoiding the mysterious theories and thinking this generally healthy and sober man had pill demons that caught him and he walked into his personal elevator and never came out. The lyrics to Let’s Go Crazy are now loaded with intrigue.

Addiction did not appear to be a long term problem for Prince as he showed none of the outward signs over the last 30 years of his career. But rumors are flying that the last year has been a rough one for the 57-year old entertainer. Painful hip problems led to Percocet and other powerful pills with never-ending prescriptions, and in no time the mighty had fallen. I’ll wait for the tox report before commenting more, but it’s not an uncommon story.

LIFE MOVES FORWARD. The sun comes up tomorrow with or without us. Ask the Atlanta Hawks.

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Prince loved basketball so if there’s an afterlife he’s enjoying this one.

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I’ve been saying all year that the regular season success of the Golden State Warriors is perfect for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It benefits the Cavs more than anyone else.

Regular season means nothing. Playoffs and Championships mean everything. It’s why Jordan is Jordan, Kobe is Kobe, Russell is Russell, Duncan is Duncan, Bird is Bird, Magic is Magic… and then there’s all those other players. Many winners and legends in the mix but there’s only a few that walk around with their hand(s) full of rings.

 

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Lebron James is on the cusp of the circle of greats. He has an impressive resume going to the last 5 finals and winning 2 of them. Most playoff records are owned or being hounded by James and his various teams. But he needs to get to 500 and get one with his hometown Cavaliers to cement his legacy.

Cue the perfect scenario – make James the underdog.


 

Last year was his first year back with his old family after running off to Miami with a supermodel, and it was awkward at times. The big 3 were actually Lebron and two confused all-stars lacking big game experience, a motley mix of role players, and a head coach who had never even assistant-coached an NBA game before.

But Lebron being Lebron, the addition of Iman Shumpert and JR Smith from the Knicks and Timo Mozgov from Denver seemed to fit together for the moment. JR was the sharpshooter, Shump the defensive stopper, and Timo the new Big Z that Lebron could play pick and roll with.

Delly also emerged as a decent backup PG and all around defensive irritant, and the team clicked going into the playoffs. But by the time they reached the Finals they had lost 2 all-stars and were logging huge minutes on the guys left.

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They still got 2, nearly 3 games from the healthy and clicking Warriors, but ran out of juice after running out of options. They were outmatched, out-coached, and still getting to know each other as a team. Delly collapsed and was rushed to the hospital for fluids. Cleveland licked it’s wounds yet again. There’s always next year.

 


This next year has been stable so the soap opera NBA media basically ignored the Cavaliers all year. Blatt wasn’t fired mid-season so much as forced to step aside for his star assistant, a move that all of us saw coming sooner or later. The Cavs didn’t miss a beat since very little changed.

Other than that all everyone talked about was the amazing unbeatable Warriors, and if the Spurs would have enough left in the tank to derail them. These amazing Warriors with their newly crowned King of the NBA Steph Curry! Could they ever be beaten? Have we ever seen something so dominating?

 

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Buzz. No one really cares. It’s the regular season. I’d be terrified if the Cavs won 73 games this year. The last team to win so many games is only talked about because they swept their way through the playoffs (actually 12-3) and got their FIFTH ring in 7 years. See the gentleman with all the rings above.

The Cavs are being treated like an underdog this year but the stats tell something different, and so does the eye test.

 


 

So the setup is perfect. The Warriors are unbeatable. Until their fragile superstar goes down that is, then they are beatable. The Spurs look damn good as usual, the perfect slayer of dreams. The Cavs are rolling, the East (which was stronger than the West overall this regular season) is folding with playoff jitters, and here we sit.

The thing about my predictions is I don’t always see the end of the story. Rarely, actually. I usually see the setup and build.

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I can imagine this is our year. But I was born in #TheLand 9 years after it’s last major title so I don’t get my hopes up too far. My storytelling mind does enjoy this narrative though.

Curry will be back, and the Cavs will face a strong team out of the west. I hope it’s the Warriors because we all want the rematch from last year. The Spurs have always dealt with Lebron better than anyone else.

 

Ouchies On A Cold Night

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts during Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

What?


 

Warriors came to the winter wonderland of Cleveland last night and beat the doo-doo out of the Cavs. The Cavs were rolling, playing good ball on their road trip, but it was off from the start last night.

No ball movement, clanking shots, no offensive rebounds – recipe for failure. Overall the Warriors just looked good – faster and stronger than last year. Still hitting those ridiculous shots.

Not much of a game since the Cavs had no fight in them. But message sent, if the Cavs make it out of the East again they are going to have a battle with the West. As usual.

 

NBA Finals – Tale of the Tape

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These categories are ranked in importance from top to bottom. Notice how Regular Season is near the bottom. Championship experience and pedigree is valued above all else, and in that department the Warriors are total virgins.

As you work down the stats for the Playoffs notice that the Cavs have slightly improved since the regular season ended and the Warriors have slightly declined. Also notice that the Warriors still pass and shoot the ball better than the Cavs.

Coach Blatt is being ignored and disrespected by most NBA types, as they outright dismiss his steady ability to collect championships over a 24 year coaching career. These championships are across various tournaments, leagues and continents, but the same thing happened almost every time – Coach Blatt’s team brought home the trophy. No way can that experience be discarded because it didn’t take place in the NBA. Champions are champions, only the details change in every quest.

 

Other NBA Finals Hype:

Cavs v Dubs: The Main Event

Cavs v Dubs: The Main Event

Finally we have arrived at the main event. Actually, we have to wait 8 days for it (the longest time ever!).

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Update — Check out the NBA Finals Tale of the Tape

 

I’ll be doing some statistical and eyeball analysis over the next couple of days before announcing my pick for the finals. Initial thoughts:

  • Since the Cavs made their big roster shakeup and Lebron’s winter break, they have a better record than the Warriors.
  • Lebron out-ranks everyone in the series in championship pedigree. Knowing how to get one is different than wanting one.
  • The Cavs roster has more playoff experience, more finals experience, and more championship rings than the Warriors.
  • Blatt and Kerr are rookie NBA coaches, but Blatt has coached several major championships around the world over the last 20 years. He’s no rookie coach, he’s a rookie NBA coach. In actual games won he’s closer to Popovich than Kerr.
  • The Warriors offensive strength is their outside shooting. Just like the Hawks, who shot 20% lower against the Cavs than anyone else.

So that’s just some food for thought as they announce the Cavs as underdogs.