After eight months of NBA basketball, where every game seemed like just a formality to this very moment, the NBA Finals arrived with the two teams we all expected to be here. Again.
After the Golden State Warriors blew through the Western Conference playoffs undefeated and the Cleveland Cavaliers achieved nearly the same feat in Eastern Conference, losing only one game, the matchup we all anticipated arrived. Finally, we might see some decent competition.
Well, maybe not so much. As a Blazers fan, though, I do feel better about my team.
The Warriors blew out the Cavs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and the most ho-hum NBA Playoffs imaginable continued. The old saying is true after all; there really can be too much of a good thing. The Warriors have too many great shooters, too many stars, too many MVPs, and too good a defense.
Despite 28 points and 15 rebounds from LeBron James, 15 points and 21 rebounds from Kevin Love, and 24 points from Kyrie Irving, it wasn’t enough to slow down Kevin Durant (38 points), Steph Curry (28 points) and the Warriors. This was a blowout despite the fact that Klay Thompson didn’t even need to show up and Draymond Green had to be just OK. This series looks over already.
However, after witnessing their beatdown on Thursday night, there is a way the Cavs can at least make this interesting. Get physical. Really physical. I’m not talking about anyone “sweeping the leg” or anything like that. No, I’m talking about playing some good old-fashioned 80s and 90s basketball. I’m talking about making the Warriors think twice about getting that layup or an easy dunk. I’m talking about making Curry think twice about nonchalantly pulling up for that long distance three with just a hand in his face. To beat these Warriors, you have to mentally beat them first. You have to get inside their head, make them think twice about those two or three points they are about to attempt.
If you are the Cavs, you cannot let this happen.
Kevin, you didn’t have to do this pic.twitter.com/LQuvmqbh8D
— The Ringer (@ringer) June 2, 2017
JR made a business decision pic.twitter.com/LIzaztEy18
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 2, 2017
Someone could have easily wrapped up Durant during that second dunk. Instead, he goes in for the easy dunk that fuels the crowd that fires up the home team that eventually ignites the blowout. Someone! Anyone! Make him earn those two points!
Right now, this is just too easy for the Warriors. And it has been for the entire season. They are the NBA’s nerdiest bullies at an Ivy league college that nobody has dared to quote Nietzsche back at yet.
This is the hardest that Curry got hit all game.
Ref with a sweet dish to Steph Curry’s face
— Someone’s An Idiot (@SomeonesAnIdiot) June 2, 2017
The Cavs have to show some toughness and a bit of willingness to get dirty. They have to go Bad Boys Pistons on these Warriors. The Cavs’ defense isn’t nearly capable of stopping a younger, faster offense without being more physical.
We’ve slogged through a tedious regular season only to suffer through a mundane playoff to what now seems like a four-game coronation of the Warriors championship. These Cavs need to scratch and claw their way back into this series.
The Warriors are becoming the equivalent of a movie that wins the Oscar for best picture but nobody wants to go see because we don’t want to be bored for two hours. Congrats, Warriors, you are now the The English Patient of the NBA. The Cavs can at least be the winner of Best Supporting Actor and give us five minutes of entertainment in an otherwise dull season of basketball.
The Cavs need to halt the premature celebrations.
When Steph Curry is feeling it so much that he gets into cocky-celebration mode, the opponent is basically screwed. pic.twitter.com/Az8313EsiT
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 2, 2017
They need to cease the smirks, smiles and shimmies. They need to let the Warriors know this thing isn’t over yet. For the love of old-school basketball, the Cavs need to get angry and physical. They need to remember that they are the defending champions. They need to give the rest of the us a reason to watch this thing!
Oh. And don’t turn the ball over 20 times. That might help.