By Chris Carlson
Because this NBA Finals matchup is so underwhelming and as predictable as it comes, this hack-of-a-scribe had to research a word to add a layer of interest. Didn’t want to settle and use quadruple for something to do with four times in a row.
As an alternative to “tetralogy”, “quartet” is sometimes used, particularly for series of four books. The term “quadrilogy”, using the Latin prefix quadri- instead of the Greek, was first recorded in 1865. Fun fact this will be the first time in history, 2 teams will meet in a championship game/series 4-year’s in a row across all professional sports.
The how did we get to this moment will be longer then that actual breakdown. Lebron James is a basketball god and all-time great player who willed his team to his 8-straight Finals trip. At the present moment, Lebron is tied for 2nd-all time with Michael Jordan for 40-point playoff games in a single postseason. (‘The Logo’ Jerry West had 8 in 1965). It took a seven-game series to beat a Boston Celtics squad missing their 2 best players, which is not a dig at James, rather a direct shot pointed at his teammates.
The Golden State Warriors needed all 7 games to finish off the Houston Rockets. 2 of the first 3 games it looked as though the Warriors would cruise with easy into their 4-straight Finals. The Rockets defensively tamed the juggernaut that is Golden State’s historic offense in games 4 and 5.
With 4-future Hall of Famers in the starting lineup it shouldn’t have lasted a full 7. What makes it worse is the Rockets didn’t have Chris Paul for the last 2 games. Many will disagree, but this year’s title will be remembered with an asterisk to some, similar to when the Warriors beat a Cavs team missing two important pieces in 2015.
The way to contain and/or beat Golden State is to be rough and tumble, limiting the amount of open looks you give them. The problem is the Cleveland Cavaliers are not a team built to be hard-nosed or scrappy. Maybe for chunks of a game or a series but it’s not sustainable. Another problem is no Kyrie Irving in a Cleveland uniform we also don’t really know which Kevin Love will show up as well.
To be blunt, let’s face it the Western Conference finals we’re basically the Finals, so it’s hard to get to overly excited. In fact with so much intrigue for this summer’s free agent class many are brainstorming and debating on who will go where.
The only saving grace about last year’s Finals matchup was style of play. Sure, we all knew the Warriors would win but it was a very entertaining brand of basketball. The way the 2017-18 Cavs roster was assembled and then re-assembled in February along with Love’s injury, doesn’t necessarily bode well for beautiful basketball.
The game plan for the return champions will be accepting that Lebron will get his and focusing on shutting down the rest of the team. The outcome to the 2018 Finals is already written just like it was in 2017. Barring major injuries or a suspension, once Kevin Durant joined a 73-win team in the summer of 2016 it was a wrap.
The Pick: Golden State in 5 only because Lebron will explode enough to win a game at home.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of the NBA Playoff Banter Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio – Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio