Well, that was fun… said no one who isn’t a Warriors fan.
The series we waited years to watch ended not with a bang, but a whimper as the injured, beaten Spurs were a ghost of the team that throttled the Warriors in the first half of Game One and slunk away silently after a 4-0 series sweep. Kawhi was hurt, but will be back. Tony Parker was hurt and should be back. Manu Ginobili was brilliant, but is 40 years old and most certainly will not be back. And as Rick Pitino might opine, Timmy Duncan ain’t walking through that door.
The dream series turned nightmare for the Spurs, and for fans, it simply induced sleep. And the odds of ever getting a rematch at full strength feels sadly unlikely.
Still, it is hard not to marvel at the brilliance of Golden State, even though it feels difficult to truly assess it after this injury-riddled Western Conference razing. Instead of the Blazers at full strength, we saw a Nurkic-less squad reduce to two gunning guards. Instead of a last-stand at Staples, Blake Griffin went down and the Dubs instead faced a Jazz team that was missing their heart-and-soul point guard for most of the series. And we all know what happened to Kawhi in the most recent series.
You play the teams in front of you. And the Warriors have done that better than any team in NBA history, ripping off a 12-0 record and setting a point differential record in the process. And assuming Cleveland shakes off their somnambulistic performance in Game Three, we will soon see them in their final test, a long-expected three-match against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
All these blow out will be worth it, right?? We WILL get Warriors v. Cavs III, won’t we??
Let’s take a look at today’s Game Four pick.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers -14.5
It took one of the two worst games of LeBron’s fourteen year career to lose to Boston in Game Three, and even then, it took a buzzer-beater from Avery Bradley. Overreacting to that single game sample might be really dangerous…
After all, in the ten 2017 Playoff games prior, LeBron was hands-down the most dominant player on Earth, putting together a posteason that would have made Michael blush, and leaving opponents shaking their heads at the podium and crowning the King verbally and explicitly. No one can beat ‘Bron, and that’s just how it is…
So, are we going to let one random abstraction change our world view?? I’m not.
I am still loathe to lay the kind of points we have had to lay in this postseason, but with the Warriors a combined 22-1 in the postseason and winning more games by double digits than by not, how do you bet against them?? The Celtics still have no Isaiah Thomas, and saying they are “better” without him, even after the stunning Game Three win is foolish. They don’t have nearly enough offense to offset his loss without several people having the best shooting night of their lives. And you don’t get seven Marcus Smart three’s two games in a row.
Look for LeBron to STORM back with a furious vengeance and to demolish the Celtics tonight. He will still pass – not saying it is all with points – but look for a phenomenal overall floor game from The King and a resounding blowout Game Four victory.
Today’s NBA Pick: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS -14.5