Golden State at Cleveland Cavaliers
Warriors lead 3-0
The NBA season may end tonight. The Warriors can cap a historic post-season run and finish 16-0, a mark of which has never been done before. It would be extraordinarily impressive if they were able to achieve this goal, as it would mean they have swept every single series in the NBA playoffs. No one has really gotten close, outside of Cleveland in Game 3 or the first half of Game 1 against the Spurs, to putting up a fight against this stacked team.
As the Cavaliers are confronted with the potential end of their season, it is hard to imagine how they can play better than the previous game. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving submitted performances for the ages and it is clear that LeBron is giving it his all. There is just only so much that the Stars, especially LeBron, can do, as evidenced by the fact that the Cavs somehow lost a game in which LeBron was +7 in 45 and a half minutes.
Granted, the Cavaliers shot terribly from range in that game, a teamwide 27.3 percent, and Kevin Love and Kyrie combined to shoot 1 of 14 on threes. But Kyrie and Love were tremendous in other parts of the game, from Kyrie’s scoring heroics en route to his 28 points on 55 percent shooting and Love’s 13 rebounds (four were offensive rebounds) and six steals. even J.R. Smith returned to form and hit five of his ten threes.
So where does this leave the Cavs as they stare into the abyss? Nowhere good. The Warriors are simply too good, too long, too fast, and too in sync on defense for anything other than perfection to beat them. Even then, it is likely not enough. The five-man combination of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green will probably be looked back at as the best team ever assembled in the history of the NBA. All of these players, outside of Iguodala are in the heart of the primes of their career and fit together seamlessly at the perfect time in the NBA for their skill sets.
One thing I have been thinking about recently is that the Warriors are really the first team to “break” the NBA with shooting and spacing. They have two of the best shooters in NBA history in Steph and Klay, as well as one of the two best shooting big men in NBA history with Durant. No other NBA team is able to keep up simply because the league is not at the point where they were ready for this type of onslaught. The Warriors have essentially played 90 percent of Centers off the court and the rest of the league is trying to reshape their rosters in order to accommodate this style of play. Even with the teams that are resisting this change, like the Wolves and the Pelicans, it is not clear if this is a plausible winning strategy. That is insane. For example with the Pelicans, it is entirely possible that having two of the best big men in the league with Cousins and Davis is not a strategy that can garner anything higher than a 7 seed.
Of course, all of that will fade by the wayside as we simply consider the impact this game will have on certain player’s legacies. LeBron could be swept, which will be held against him, fair or unfair, as his accolades keep piling up in comparison to the other all-time greats. Durant will be looking to add the first of many NBA championships, and NBA Finals MVP, to his name.
After giving it all in Game 3, we will have to see if the Cavs have anything left in the tank. They are facing down a historically great team and are working their hardest simply not to get swept. But the Slim Reaper lurks.