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NBA: Cavaliers, Warriors and 28 Also-Rans

May 19th, 2017 · No Comments · Basketball, NBA

The NBA has become a bit unbalanced.

Twenty-eight teams can do all the coaching, scouting, planning and plotting, building and rebuilding they want … and it will not change a basic, unalterable reality:

They have no chance against the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Which ought to make for a fascinating championship series, when those two collide, for the third consecutive season, beginning on June 1.

In the meantime, six clubs have been reacquainted in these playoffs with the Cavs-Dubs inferno, a process that should come with the warning: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”

Cleveland’s 130-86 nuking tonight of the Boston Celtics, No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference only because the Cavaliers did a lot of resting during the season, means that the Cavs and Warriors each are 10-0 in the playoffs.

As the games in theory get more challenging, the Warriors and Cavs are hitting their stride.

LeBron James’s Cavs have road victories of 117-104 and 130-86 over the Celtics, some of whose fans seemed to think they actually had a shot in this series. Ha. It ought to end with Game 4, on Tuesday.

The Warriors of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant let San Antonio run out to a 25-point lead in Game 1 of their current series with the San Antonio Spurs before coming back to win by a bucket, then turning in a 136-100 beating in Game 2 — when the Spurs played without their one star, Kawhi Leonard.

That one will end with Game 4 in San Antonio on Monday, barring food poisoning from the pre-game spread.

What this means for the NBA comes on two levels.

First, is the reinforced sense of utter disparity between Golden State and Cleveland … and everyone else.

The league has seen dominant teams before, but rarely the same two at the same time, over the past 25 years.

That dominance seems to devalue the regular season, as well as every round of the playoffs that isn’t the finals.

On the other hand, the Cavaliers and Warriors are giving us the sports equivalent of Batman versus Superman — superheroes clashing with everything at stake, as per usual. Two rosters of stars, led by the two most dominant players in the game.

Their 2015 showdown went 4-2 to the Warriors in 2015, but LeBron & Co. won the final three to take the championship 4-3 a year ago.

This is the matchup everyone wants. There’s that.

It just would be better for TV ratings and stoking ongoing interest in the process if the two behemoths showed at least a teeny bit of vulnerability on the way to Showdown 3.0, rather than humiliating the rest of the league on the way.



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