Tag Archive | Cavaliers

Why Watch the NBA Finals?

Tonight is finally the night!! The NBA Finals get underway! This is the matchup that most of the NBA expected and wanted to see in the finals. Cleveland and Golden State will kick off this series tonight at 9 PM. In case you wanted a few reasons to watch, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Rematch!

These teams met in the finals last year. Last season’s finals were decided in six games with Golden State having too much depth for Cleveland’s depleted roster to contend with. Even with depleted health, Cleveland managed to keep the series close with toughness, good defense, and the great play of Lebron James. Now, the Cavaliers are healthy, they have the players they want, they have the coach they want, and they have a chance to take down the champs. The Warriors also want to see Cleveland because they have drawn criticism that their path to a championship last year was much too easy. Their opponents were injured for every series and the challenge factor was there, but it was not as strong as it was in this playoff run and in this finals. Both sides wanted this rematch and got what they want. 

I also have a historical angle too. Take a look at my list of Top 10 NBA Finals, and you’ll see many series that are rematches. The atmosphere of a rematch is so much more intense because there is a sense of bitterness on one side and that allows for a real dislike of the opposition. The Celtics and Lakers don’t like each other because they have faced each other multiple times and have had years where there are direct rematches. So did the Lakers and Sacramento Kings in the playoffs in the early 2000’s, so did the Spurs and whoever LeBron is playing with. The atmosphere in general for a rematch is heightened and with the specifics of this rematch, it’s made even better and more meaningful. 

2. Paying off the Record?

The Golden State Warriors set the record for the greatest regular season record in NBA history this year at 73-9. They set the standard every step of the way this year and reign supreme as the biggest draw in the NBA. But does their legendary regular season mean anything if they don’t win the championship? Well, yes and no. It’s still a remarkable accomplishment to win that many games and is still an all time mark. But the purpose of playing this game is to try and win a championship and Golden State has put themselves in as good a position as they possibly could. If they don’t win the championship, it will take a huge amount of luster off the Warrior’s season. The players all know that and they want to be known as the best team in NBA history. They will do whatever they need to do to win a title. The Warriors have a ton of pride in their craft and want to win badly.

3. Believeland’s Faith

I watched a documentary in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series called Believeland recently. It highlighted the depths of pain that Cleveland sports fans have hit. It showed how much the Cleveland fans have endured and how they still believe. They still believe in LeBron and his ability to carry the Cavaliers to a championship. It would be the first Cleveland championship since Jim Brown ran over the Baltimore Colts in the 1964 NFL Championship Game. Lebron has said many times over that he feels the pressure to win and knows the pain of northeast Ohio, as he grew up in it. He and the rest of the Cavaliers know exactly what a championship would do for their fan base, and they want to win for their home city. 


This is a hard finals to call. The teams are well matched and both ready to go toe to toe. They have strong shooters on Curry and Thompson for Golden State and Love, Irving, Frye, and Smith for Cleveland. They play very similar styles of basketball, being the first and second ranked teams in making three pointers this postseason. They can also get inside. Draymond Green and Lebron James can facilitate their team’s offense from the inside, and they both have good post offenses to help their teams. These teams are very evenly matched up and down. Ultimately, it will comedown to who can control some momentum and who plays with more energy. Both teams have reason to be energetic and play hard, but I’ll ultimately have to pick Golden State for that. They have the momentum off a big victory in the conference finals over OKC, and have a little more depth than Cleveland. Not much, but just enough to eek out what will be an amazing seven game series. 

NBA Finals Recap

Well the NBA Season is finally over and it was quite an ending series. I know this wrap-up is a few days late, but I’ve been working! Plus the few days between the end of the season and now have helped me process a few things and I now have a few thoughts to get across here. 

Before the series got underway, I gave a prediction that the Warriors would win in 6. I ended up being 100% correct. How they would win did surprise me a little bit, though. No one expected that Kyrie Irving would go down with a bad injury. No one expected that the Cavs would be that competitive after Kyrie went down. So why did they stay competitive? Because LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world and he showed that masterfully. He averaged 35.8 points, 8.8 assists, and 13.2 rebounds a game. He was the best player on the floor for every game, except game 4. The Cavaliers had the best player in the world and no one else. Matthew Dellavadova played good defense, but his play was overhyped by people like Skip Bayless and he was beat by Curry in games 5 and 6, which cost his team the series. Tristan Thompson played well, but wasn’t quick enough to give enough offense. Timofey Mozgov had one spectacular game in game 4, but no one else played well enough to give Cleveland a win, as they were blown out at home. And the rest of the bench was weak, with Shawn Marion and Kendrick Perkins there in cameo roles at the end of championship careers. 

Golden State was the better team the whole way. ESPN frequently set up the series as a duel between Steph Curry and LeBron James. It’s an easy dichotomy to try and work with, and the NBA has done this sort of thing to market its series with varying levels of success in the past. 

Russell vs Chamberlain was a fabulous success because they were the best players at the most important position of the day: Center. They won many championships and combined for some of the best match ups of NBA history.  

 Magic vs Bird was also a fabulous success because the Celtics and the Lakers were involved, they had similar roles on their teams, and were two of the greatest players of all time.  

 Hakeem vs Ewing worked because of the similar position and role in the team, and because of the college connection. But it didn’t last beyond 1994.  

 Clyde Drexler vs Michael Jordan was interesting. Same position, same roles, great teams. But it only lasted a year, 1992, and Jordan was so clearly the better player and it wasn’t that terribly interesting a matchup, to be honest.  


Steph Curry vs LeBron doesn’t really work because while the two are the best players on their respective teams, they play completely different styles of ball. Curry thrives on his ball handling, passing, and shooting. He is the epitome of a finesse player. But he isn’t big or strong and hasn’t shown that he can take a beating like Allen Iverson could, for example. LeBron James is a physical freak. He can play physical basketball better than most who’ve ever played. His dunks are monster jams like no one else, and he can make interior passes like no ones business. But he can’t shoot the outside shot at effectively. These two are not comparable players and they are not rivals! They are too different to be comparable players. 

The series wasn’t a duel won by Curry over LeBron, it was a battle between Cleveland and Golden State, and Golden State was a better total team. Curry had a cold start, but special games in the 5th and 6th games. Thompson was consistently good. Draymond Green played well, and Andre Iguodala was special when he was out in the starting lineup. While LeBron was the best total player in the series, Iguodala could to defend LeBron and limit him enough to give Golden State a chance to win. And his offense was enough to put the Warriors over the top.  

 The team was better than Cleveland’s injury riddled mess of a basketball team. The series was that simple. 

  Now to take a few months off from hoops before the next NBA season! 

Why I’ll be watching the NBA Finals

So why should a Boston sports fan who doesn’t like Lebron James and doesn’t care about the Golden State Warriors watch this year’s NBA Finals? This is a match up between two usually doormat franchises. Cleveland has only one trip to the finals in their history, and they were swept by the Spurs that time in 2007. The other most famous points in their history are Michael Jordan hitting the game winner over Craig Ehlo in 1989 and Lebron James’s decision to leave Cleveland for Miami in 2010.  


 Since then, Lebron and Dan Gilbert made up, Kyrie came on, and now Cleveland can complete a fairy tale. 

Golden State has only won one championship, and that was way back in the days of Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes, and head coach Al Attles in 1975. Since that time? They cost themselves repeatedly in the draft, trading Robert Parrish and the 3rd pick in the 1980 draft to the Boston Celtics for the top pick, which they used to get Joe Barry Carol. The results? Boston got Parrish and used the 3rd pick to get Kevin McHale, won 3 Championships in the following decade, while Parrish and McHale went onto the Hall of Fame.  


 The Warriors descended into the basketball abyss and would not get up until they drafted Chris Mullin in 1984. They would then build, dismantle, rebuild, and redismantle seemingly every other year for the next 15 or so years. Run TMC, Chris Webber, Baron Davis, so on and so forth. Then Steph Curry arrived, and the team we see today began to take shape and now they’re in the finals. 
Neither of these franchises have great history, there is no rivalry between these teams now, there is nothing in these team’s past to suggest that it’ll be a great series. And yet, I will watch this series with great interest and enjoyment. Why? 3 reasons.

1. These are the two best basbetball teams in the world. Entertainment to follow!

Yes, I am an unabashed Celtics fan. Yes, I care about the C’s above all else in the basketball world. Yes, I hope Paul Pierce come back to the C’s and not to the Clippers this offseason. But I am a general basketball fan. I’ll watch any hoops game of its a compelling and good enough matchup. Thankfully this one is a great match up. The records and highlights are as follows.

  Golden State: 67-15, 46-3 at home this year including playoffs. They have the best shooting backcourt in the league in Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, and a talented front court that has won me over in Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, and a skilled bench with Andre Iguodala and David Lee. They are the best team in the NBA. And they have a worthy opponent in the finals.

  Cleveland: 53-29, 12-2 in the playoffs this season. This team revolves around the superpowers of Lebron and Kyrie. Even without key players Anderson Varejao and Kevin Love, this team fought their way here. The play of role players, like Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Timofey Mozgof, and Iman Shumpert has been crucial to a revival season in Cleveland. They’re trying to imitate my beloved 2008 Celtics as a team to go from a losing record in one season to winning it all the next season. They are the best team in the East, and they will give the Warriors fits. 

2. Mark Jackson calling the series.  

 ESPN’s top basketball broadcasting team, Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson, will be calling the NBA Finals this year. Breen is excellent as a play-by-play man, though he’s not my favorite, that would be Kevin Harlan. I still enjoy Breen’s style. Van Gundy and Jackson are both excellent commentators in their own right, but Jackson has an interesting perspective on this series. He coached the Warriors last season! And was unfairly removed from his job, in my opinion. He will be able to provide interesting insight on the team and I will be interested in the dynamic of his broadcasts. Will he want his former team to lose? To win? Will he keep professional with a few momentary outbursts one way or the other? We’ll have to see. 

3. Boo Lebron!!

Yes I am now officially that guy. I’m not quite the guy that belongs in this picture though, as I know my team for sure.  

Regardless, I’m not a Lebron fan. I started watching basketball in about 2006, when Lebron and the Cavs played in Boston, and had an epic duel with Paul Pierce. Since this day, I’ve lived Pierce with a passion and opposed Lebron with equal passion. Plus, I’m a bitter Celtics fan. . He beat my team! I mean we broke his heart in 2008 and 2010, but he broke ours in 2011, 2012, and this season! I was in the arena when he led the Cavs to beat us. So yes, I’m a bitter C’s fan. But I still don’t pull for Lebron and I will root against his teams until the end. While I know it’d be an amazing story if he won a title in his first year back in Cleveland and an awesome thing for Cleveland, I’m sorry. I can’t bring myself to support Lebron on an NBA floor. Unless he plays for the C’s and I know that won’t ever happen. 

So there you go. Good basketball with interesting broadcast subtext and a guy I love to hate. I’ll enjoy the 2015 NBA Finals! 

Losing a Bet

So remember when I went to the Gahden to pull for the Boston Celtics? Yeah, me too. That was fun. Except for them losing of course… Especially to this nobody named Lebron James and this other stranger called Kyrie Irving. They play for this strange team called the Cleveland Cavaliers that wears hideous Wine and Gold uniforms. (Oh come on, even my friends who are Cleveland fans agree with me there.) 

Ok maybe I’m just bitter. My team just had a great season where they were supposed to be rebuilding, and we expected to be in the bottom of the league again. Instead, they battled their way into the playoffs. Yes they finished the season 2 games under 500, but still, they made the 7th seed of the playoffs. They earned the respect of the league and they have one of the best young coaches in Brad Stevens. They played the Cleveland Cavaliers pretty well for the whole series. They just didn’t play well enough to win the series, or rather a single game in the series… Well they weren’t good enough. At least they were close in the games and have a bright future ahead of them! And that is the positive spin that I can put on a hard loss and a tough end for the Celtices. 

The end is made personally harder for me because I at least thought the C’s would win one game. In fact, I thought they could win the whole series! Being an overconfident Celtics fan, I made a bet with my friend Vanessa, my cohost on the JVC Sports Block on Monday nights on WTBU, which you can hear from 6 pm to 8 pm on this website. http://www.wtburadio.org The bet was if the Celtics won the series, Vanessa would have to wear Boston Celtics garb for a whole day. If the Cavs won the series, I would have to wear Cavs gear for a whole day. I thought that the Celtics would win the series and make the Cavs sweat. They’ve given Lebron some trouble before and ended the Cavs’ season in painful ways before. I made the bet with Vanessa! truly thought they would win! But they didn’t. They played competitively for four games but ultimately lost. 

Well, the Celtics lost the series and I lost my bet. Well I have to wear a Cleveland Cavaliers shirt and hat all day tomorrow… Yay… Well I’m not gonna complain too much. I made the bet and I have to abide by my own terms. Even if I’m not that big a fan of it all…  


I made my bed and I have to lay in it. Oh well. Go Celtics!(in 2016…)