It’s Golden State’s world …
I honestly did not think Golden State was as good as they looked in dispatching the Portland Trail Blazers in four straight to advance to their fifth straight NBA finals appearance.
After all, they played without Kevin Durant, supposedly the best player on the planet. They were without DeMarcus Cousins, their fifth all-star. The guy who was supposed to put them in the same class as the 1992 Dream Team. Plus, Portland had Damian Lillard, the breakout star of this year’s playoffs. I was not necessarily expecting the Blazers to win, but to go out in four? No way!
But there they were, four games later, celebrating yet another playoff series win. It seems Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green provided enough star power for Golden State to beat pretty much anyone in the league. At this point, giving them Durant back and/or a healthy Cousins just seems like overkill. They are beating the best competition the NBA has to offer without them, so what does it matter if they’re on the court or not?
I wrote a lot about Kawhi Leonard last week and he and Toronto are currently tied with Milwaukee at 2–2 in their playoff series to determine who gets to lose to the Warriors in the finals. Leonard has some experience beating the Warriors. He was a member of the 2013 San Antonio Spurs team that knocked Golden State out in the semi-finals. But that was before the Warriors’ dynasty began.
In fact, in 2013, Golden State’s last finals appearance was in 1975. Since they reached their finals in 2015, no team without LeBron James has proven good enough to defeat them and I am guessing that’s what will happen this year. I can guarantee that is what will happen this year if Durant comes back. If not, I guess you give Milwaukee or Toronto a puncher’s chance. But after what we saw the Warriors do to Portland, that puncher’s chance is not very good at all.
I would be remiss if I did not address the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Boston Bruins did their best Golden State impersonation in sending the Carolina Hurricanes home in four games. It took St. Louis a little longer to get past San Jose, but they still prevailed in six games and will try and figure out the Bruins and Tuukka Rask in a series that starts Monday.
I don’t like the amount of time the NHL is giving these teams in between series. By the time the Bruins are back on the ice, they will have been off for close to two weeks while St. Louis gets almost a week-long break.
Perhaps this is why hockey constantly ranks at the bottom of the big four sports; their league office knows how to kill any momentum great hockey games have built leading up to the Stanley Cup finals. I am guessing some casual fans may have forgotten about the finals completely before they start, which is a terrible way to convince people to watch.
No matter, I promise I will be watching. I have been a Bruins fan for close to 20 years and I do love playoff hockey with a passion I used to reserve only for the baseball playoffs. I don’t see any way St. Louis can beat Boston who has the superior team and the better goaltender, but who knows, right? And that is why we watch in the first place.