This year’s Playoffs have been one of the least competitive, partly due to injuries. Injuries to Kwahi Leonard and Tony Parker has turned WC finals into a farce. Now injury to Isaiah Thomas has turned EC finals from what was a farce to more of a farce.
Really hoping that Cavaliers and Warriors destined to be in the finals from opening day, go into the finals without any key injuries and it stays that way through the series. Without injuries, this could be one of the most watched finals. A true clash of the titans. If that happens, no one will remember what happened during the early rounds.
I totally agree with the last sentence. These have been the worst playoffs I can remember from a competitive standpoint, but all is forgiven if we get a classic 6-7 game Finals.
Was arguing with my brother the other day because he said he was sick of the matchup and didn’t want Cleveland-Golden State Rd 3. I wasn’t born until 1989, so I missed the 80s NBA, but the thing I think about first when it’s brought up is Lakers-Celtics. Cabs-Warriors is going to be the same way, especially if this series lives up to the hype.
I really don’t know who will win. Last year, I thought the Warriors had it in the bag and they did before Draymond’s shenanigans. Going into these conference finals, I would have said Golden State fairly confidently. But given how Cleveland has demolished Boston (Washington would’ve been a tougher matchup) and how San Antonio played Golden State the 2.5 quarters Kawhi was healthy, I’m kinda leaning with the recency bias and thinking Cleveland. Their ball movement, defense and of course LeBron is just amazing.
Had a buddy ask if I wanted to go out and catch one of the conference finals games at a sports bar. Told him I’d rather save my money for the Finals.
It will be interesting what the oddsmakers do. Looks like as even a series as we have seen for a while, going into the finals.
LBJ does seem to be playing his best ball right now. That controversial rest during the regular season is helping. It is interesting James Harden was critical of LeBron and others for resting during the regular season, but in the end he was the one that was gassed in the playoffs. If LeBron can sustain his form, it would be a good one.
Yeah, I think it’s pretty much impossible to argue against the benefits of resting at this point. Sports science and results back it up. I’ve been to 10-12 OKC games the last 3 years and missed seeing Westbrook (once), Durant (once), Kobe, CP3, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Joel Embiid (may have been hurt) off the top of my head. It was disappointing to get the update on the way to the game (especially Kobe’s, it was his last year). Wish teams would’ve been full strength, but I wasn’t surprised and it didn’t ruin the game or the experience for me.
At the same time, it makes sense for the league to be cognizant of the effects on fans who buy tickets solely to see stars and to frown on resting like they are, especially when it affects those national TV slots. I like how they’re extending the regular season another week. I don’t think they’ll cut down from 82 games any time soon, but I could see them continue to stretch the regular season back to like Oct. 10-12, so 2 weeks earlier than it is now. Would basically just cut out 5-6 of the 8 exhibition games.
Going forward, I think you’ll see more resting from guys like Harden until the league further fixes the scheduling. Unfortunately, my guy Russ doesn’t really have that luxury because they’d be about a 20-25 win team without him.
I would like to see a schedule where no one has to play on consecutive nights. I am sure there are other things they can do to the schedule to make it easier on the players. I agree it will be tough to reduce the number of regular season games. They can only do that with ticket price increase and that won’t sell. Prices are already up there. I have not looked at the numbers but it very possible that each year, less and less people are buying season tickets.
But in the end, players are still going to rest regardless. Popovic started that practice and others jumped on it and it will be hard to stop it.
I agree with the sentiment that teams ought to rest their players during home stands and not on the road. Every team plays 41 games at home, plenty of opportunity for the home crowd to see their stars. If they missed a couple of home games, it’s not a big deal. But like in the case of Kobe visiting OKC, there’s only a few chances to see him. However they do it, the body can only take so much punishment before breaking down. They have to rest the players.
LBJ was playing his best ball until last night, when he pretty much vanished. Some Cavs fans of my acquaintance were rather disturbed by that. I have a hard time imagining the Dubs losing with KD in the lineup, but all it would take is one key injury such as San Antonio suffered with Leonard. I also had a hard time imagining the Dubs losing last year after they were up 3-1, though.
It may be a “get off my lawn” thing, but I don’t believe that Cavs-Warriors comes close to Lakers-Celtics in the 80’s. There was so much history with the latter matchup. The Lakers franchise had suffered so severely at the hands of the Celtics for decades. Pure hatred among the fan bases, and unfortunately a racial element was part of it. The teams did not like each other either and made no bones about it. Bird, even after they became chummy, perpetually had a score to settle with Magic from college. Magic perpetually had a score to settle with Bird with the press consistently portraying Bird as the slightly better player. It’s difficult to convey just how big Bird versus Magic was then. There were viewers who probably couldn’t name any other NBA players that would tune in to watch them.
Pre Magic and Bird the NBA was way down the list in most popular sports in the USA. Almost overnight the NBA Finals became a national signature event if it was Lakers versus Celtics.