“If there was one thing that stands out to you about them (Golden State Warriors), whether it’s speed or whatever, what would it — what was it for tonight?” a reporter asked Lebron James after game 1 press.
“KD”. King James concluded.
Maybe for the first time in his career, one could see a micro-crack in his armor. After game number 2, it isn’t getting any better. The King Cavalier gave it all in game 2, 29 points, 14 assists (10 in the first 2 quarters) and 11 rebounds but even a king cavalier can’t defeat these Warriors alone.
It’s not that the two teams aren’t familiar with each other. This is the third consecutive finals with the teams claiming a championship each in the previous two episodes. But this Warriors team is different. They are faster, more versatile and with endless amounts of energy and creativity. The Cavs and the King are like sailors trying to clear the water from a leaking hull. It worked for the first few minutes in game 1 and the entire first half of game 2. Despite the tables turning and the Warriors turning over 20 possessions vs. the Cavs 9 turn overs (4:20 in game 1) after half time, Lebron was drained and the Warriors took over to defeat the Cavs, including Curry scoring after taking Lebron for a one on one.
Not What We Expected
There have been many team and personal rivalries throughout NBA history. The Celtics vs The Lakers, Bird vs. Magic in the 80’s, Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls, but after game 2, this media flamed rivalry seemed so artificial. We waited the entire season, 82 games and the entire conference playoff series for this climax! We waited for the Cavs and the Warriors to square off for the third (and possibly last) time. The first two episodes of this trilogy rivalry between the Cavs and the Warriors were close. Each team had its stronger and weaker points against each other and each took a title, when it was somewhat an underdog.
And then entered Kevin Durant and the first jump ball (and the second) and we knew it was over before it started. The known x-factor came into his element. Unlike his time in OKC with Russel Westbrook, with Steve Kerr on the lines, Curry and a different basketball mindset Durant is the best show in town. Either helping Klay Thompson recover his shooting skills or giving Curry an assist option for a graceful dunk or to get it back outside for a three pointer. In the first two games of the series Durant scored 71 points, 22 rebounds and 14 assists.
King James stated after the match: “You take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled last year, that we saw in the regular season and in the post-season, and then in the off-season you add a high-powered offensive talent like that and a great basketball IQ like that, that’s what stands out. I mean, it’s no if, ands, or buts. It is what it is. We got to figure out how to combat that, which is going to be a tough challenge for us. But that’s what stands out.”
The Warriors now hold an NBA record of 14:0 in this playoff season, after breaking the league win record last year (and losing the championship). When Tyronn Lue said flatly during his game 1 post game remarks “They’re the best I ever seen,” it wasn’t defeatism, it was gradually coming to grips with the truth. With KD in the mix, the Warriors are currently simply too good.