From a personal standpoint, this was the first Father’s Day for me in 28 years without at least one of our two boys present. Probably won’t be the last. Not complaining – just another difficult part of growing old even if that’s the way we planned life to work. Raise the kids, have them leave the house and make a successful life for themselves.
On to the NBA. Game 7 was a nail biter. It’s baffling beyond words as to why the first six were so lopsided. It’s not as if the players didn’t understand what was at stake until last night.
Although the Warriors were obviously not at full strength (Bogut, Ezeli, Barnes and especially Curry – it wasn’t that he was missing shots, it was how badly he was missing them, including bricks and air balls seldom seen during the year), all with major or minor injuries – that should never be brought up because of the good fortune that shone on them last year.
Turning point of the series was Draymond Green and his inability to control his emotions. To me there is little to no doubt that, had Green played in Game 5 in Oakland, with his team up 3-1 and the Cavs devastated after being so dominant in Game 3, there would be a parade in the Bay Area in the near future. However, if any of his teammates had “brought it” to Game 7 like Green did, the Warriors would be back-to-back champs. 32 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists is a monster game from their third option and should certainly should have been enough to win.
Forget the idea of James baiting Green to throw a punch south of the equator so he’d be suspended. The 2016 Finals MVP was simply frustrated that, after such a beat-down they placed on the Dubs in Game 3, that his bunch were going to lose at home, go down 3-1 and have to win three straight, two of them in Oakland (after not coming close in Games 1 or 2) to claim “one for the ‘Land.”
If Harrison Barnes wants a max contract, he must have faith that some NBA front office didn’t watch the Finals. It’s hard to claim you’re a max player when, as a #4 option, you play as badly as he did. Maybe a bad ankle was to blame but, only in the NBA would somebody be able to turn down a $65+ million offer, put on such a bad performance and still wind up with a multi-year contract at $20M/per. Yet, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if a franchise offered him just that. If multi-million and multi-billion dollar owners made decisions for their companies the way they do for their
toys franchises, they’d never be in the position they were in to be able to purchase them in the first place. Barnes might be a Kevin Love type – put up big numbers for a losing squad.
Key play last night was LeBron James running down and blocking a sure layup by Andre Iguodala. It’s a remarkable talent of LeBron’s, one we’ve seen again and again but, while most players don’t have the jumping or timing skills he does, a major part of the skill is that it’s all-out effort - something anybody can do.
Forget the idea of Golden State’s pursuit of the Bulls record wearing down the defending champs. In many of those games, the main characters didn’t play the whole fourth quarter. Other games were like the Globbies and the Washington Generals. So, unless someone in the medical field comes out and says that Curry (or others) sustained an injury in a late season game, suck it up and congratulate the new champions.
A valid point, however, is this fact: Cleveland breezed through the Eastern Conference Playoffs (two sweeps and a less difficult than it seemed 4-2 beating of Toronto) while the Warriors swept no one and needed a super human performance from Klay Thompson just to advance to the Finals. Mentally and physically, after an 82 game season (plus exhibitions), nothing is more welcome than an easy path to the Finals.
Something we’ll never know but a lot of people (majority?) feel: Had Oklahoma City beat the Warriors, that parade would have been in oil country.
Kudos to Ty Lue and Steve Kerr for the honest, forthright comments they made in the all the post game press conferences, actually explaining answers to difficult questions, as opposed to the politically correct BS we hear from other coaches and players.
The best NBA regular season ever – winning 73 of 82 games (nearly 90%) should not be dismissed by anyone – unless those people can illustrate that they went through the same amount of time “winning” 90% of whatever it is they do. Including talk show hosts and their callers whose main message is, “The 73 game record means nothing. The simple fact is the Warriors just didn’t finish the job.” Compare their entire season to your own. How do they match up? And, consider, no one is playing defense against you.
No doubt who was going to be voted Finals MVP – whichever team won. It’s doubtful we’ll ever again see anyone lead a Finals in every statistical category: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. That said, no one should forget that the same feeling existed after the regular season – or that that MVP voting was unanimous for very similar reasons.
Idiocy was on display but not in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The USGA is a laughing stock. In this day and age of technology, their officials told Dustin Johnson, a guy who hadn’t won a major – and gave away (OK choked away) last year’s U.S. Open – that he might be assessed a penalty stroke for something that should have been easily dismissed since he had nothing to do with his ball moving. In no other sport does an official go up to a player during the sporting event and say about a ruling:
“We’ll get back to you.”