Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions. After being down 3-1, they battled all the way back to win the series in 7 games. The story was supposed to be that Steph Curry & the Warriors were going to come in & shoot all over Cleveland. Which they did, until Cleveland got a hold of their cards and won 3 straight. Now it’s just who to praise & who to slander.
Lebron James & Kyrie Irving gets all the praise for the Finals. Both could have justifiably won Finals MVP, but that unanimous honor went to King James. He averaged 29.7 PPG, 8.9 APG, 11.3 RPG, 2.6 SPG, and 2.3 BPG. Which is nothing short of spectacular. He brought the city of Cleveland a title after a FIFTY TWO YEAR drought. Fifty two years. Kyrie was no slouch, outplaying Steph Curry through the whole series. In fact? The 3 pointer that put the Cavs up 92-89 in the closing minute of Game 7 was by Kyrie right in front of Steph face. That leads me to the slander.
Another praise goes to Draymond Green, though he did get suspended for Game 5. His performance in Game 7 more than made up for that. Though he did disappear in games 3,4, and 6; when it was time to show up in Game 7, he nearly dropped a triple double. Led the Warriors in scoring with 32 points in Game 7.
And I’m going to throw a little praise Kevin Love’s way for his amazing efforts on defense in Game 7. Though he lacked in pretty much every other category, that defense was amazing.
Steph Curry gets the majority of it because as the unanimous MVP, your finals performance needs to be A LOT better than what it was. Averaging just 22.6 PPG, and that doesn’t even tell the story of the shots he missed in clutch time. While the majority of the series were blowouts, Game 7 literally came down to the final minute. Steph was given multiple chances to tie the game up or take the lead. He missed a couple of KEY threes that ultimately led to the loss. Personally, I think he left it all in the Western Conference Finals. He was physically and emotionally drained, and it manifested in a mediocre NBA Finals performance.
Steve Kerr is going to get this slander as well, he made some questionable coaching decision as he left Harrison Barnes in when he was playing, for lack of a better word, like trash. And as the coach, and therefor leader of a 73-9 NBA team, losing the finals when being up 3-1 is going to get you some slander.
All of that being said, the last thing that should be done is for people to discredit the Warriors 73-9 season. They did in fact have the best season in NBA history. But just like the Patriots, who went 18-1, with a loss in the Super Bowl, it means nothing without a ring. As the NBA stands now, it’s all hail King James with a side of ‘is Steph Curry really the best player in the NBA’? Only time will tell. And with that…Philadelphia is now on the clock.