Everyone is pumped for tonight’s Game 7 between the Cavaliers and Warriors, as well they should be. Besides an NBA championship, there are legacies for the players and the teams, both short-term and long-term, on the line.
One game shouldn’t define a player or a team, at least not while that game is fresh in our minds. Everyone falls prey to recency bias. Time is the best way to determine whether or not something is the greatest. The problem with time, however, is that it takes its sweet damn time, and nobody wants to wait that long for a clear picture to develop, so let’s just make a bunch of declarations now, OK?
That is how sports talk works. You need to present opinions on the impact of a just-completed event and its space in history immediately. This is a corrupt way of judging something, but it’s the world we live in. And for this series specifically, there are very clear questions that will be asked about each team and some of its players no matter who comes out victorious.
While I have no idea what will happen on the court in Oakland, the chatter subjects in the minutes, hours and days following the final buzzer — barring the occurrence of some non-basketball-related event during the game, like an alien invasion — are pretty obvious. I’ll cover those topics now and give you my take so you don’t have to waste your time listening to others debate these issues after the fact.
If the Warriors win …
Is this the greatest team in NBA history?
On a single-season basis, I think so. Best record and winning percentage of all time. Although they were pushed to the brink in two playoff series, that shouldn’t weigh as heavy as the credit earned for ultimately winning against tough opponents. This team has shown its mettle in the playoffs. That should be commended. They annihilated the competition in the regular season, posted the second-longest winning streak in NBA history (dating back to 2014-15) as well as the association’s longest winning streak to open a season. They did it with purely sublime shooting, perhaps the best we’ve ever seen.
Are these Warriors, 2014-present, the greatest team in NBA history?
OK, this is just getting silly.
In another effort to catch up on stories I’ve missed in the past few days, I must bring up what was at least our second LeBron-powder celebration in as many weeks during the NFL preseason.
But it happened again Thursday. Cam Newton scored a rushing touchdown against the Bengals — hey, nice job wrapping up, two-six — and went back to the powder well. Form could have been tighter.
I’m left with two conclusions from this, neither of which are great for Cam.
I don’t know if he and LeBron are friends, but even if so, is this really going to become the norm for Newton? Is this going to be his celebration in the NFL? Newton is such a unique talent, it would be kind of lame if the best end-zone move he could come up with is something that already has a much more successful owner.
OR … was Newton trying to follow in Burleson’s footsteps and attempting to insult the Bengals’ fans? If so, someone should probably tell him that while he was indeed in Ohio, people in Cincinnati don’t give a rat’s ass about the misfortune of their rivals sitting on Lake Erie. If anything, Bengals fans applauded Newton for that gesture because it reminded them of how much Cleveland basketball sucks these days.
I would guess that Newton has been getting a lot of cheers from opposing crowds during this preseason.
Do you know how bad it has gotten for the Cleveland Browns and their fans?
Go ahead, ask …
(How bad has it gotten?!) Yeah, thanks.
It’s gotten so bad that even the Detroit Lions have no problem poking fun at their city. Case in point, Nate Burleson, who scored a touchdown during Friday’s preseason game in Cleveland and then decided to hit ’em in a still-sensitive area: LeBron.
Unfortunately, I can’t embed the video, so scroll down the list of clips here, and push play on “Nate Burleson 4-yard TD” to watch him mimic LeBron’s powder … thing. I don’t know, it’s not really a celebration. Introduction? Whatever. Just watch the clip. It’s pretty funny when you consider the team and the player doing the teasing.
I don’t care too much for the NFL’s preseason. Most things that happen during this month end up being overrated, and I usually turn the games on TV just for background noise and in hopes of seeing something like a second-rate wide receiver mocking fans after a meaningless score.
Oh, and this just in: Larry Fitzgerald sees your preseason and spits in its hypothetical face, ya dig? Despite the annoying soundtrack to that clip, I’d say Fitz is ready to go.
Today, as expected, has been mostly about how the Miami Heat didn’t win an NBA Championship last night. LeBron and the Heat failed or choked or something like that.
In the spare moments of time left after all of that, someone points out that the Dallas Mavericks actually won and deservedly so. They were the better team; they hit more shots; they played better defense and played their best when the going got tough. Unfortunately, the U.S. majority will forget that more than they forget who Dallas beat.
The saying goes that no one ever remembers second place. That won’t be true this year, which is too bad.
With that being said, let’s talk some more about the Miami Heat!
OK, I’m not going to pile on. I don’t really care what was said last night. Let’s let it go, folks.
No, I want to be LeBron positive for a moment before I change my tune here.
The guy is going to win an NBA Championship at some point, probably more than one. He’s too good and his team is too good to keep coming up short as the years go by. What happened this week is probably just another case of how NBA stars reach the top of the mountain — there always seems to be valleys before the peaks. For the many who don’t want to see him succeed, there will come a time when they (we?) will have to deal with it and give him his due. It will happen.
But for those who want to keep fantasizing about how difficult it will be for the Heat to win an NBA title, well, you’re not wrong. Like every other team, they now have to start from square one again and set out on long road.
I realize it’s stupid, but I can’t get away from it. I decide against writing a post if I don’t think I can get at least 400-plus words out of it. That’s basically why I do Running Off at the Electronic Mouth; most of those are just a jumble of subjects I want to write about here but don’t because of this bastardization I’ve placed upon small posts.
But I’m going to overcome this right now — although that was a pretty long intro about being short, so I may have defeated the purpose. Aw, damn.
Anyway, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert needs to be quiet. Here’s what he said via Twitter shortly after LeBron James and the Miami Heat were ultimately vanquished in Game 6 of the NBA Finals tonight:
“Congrats to Mark C.&entire Mavs org. Mavs NEVER stopped & now entire franchise gets rings. Old Lesson for all:There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE“
Dan, nobody likes a sore loser. Especially a rich one.
And nobody likes a chatty sore loser who is in no position to talk.
What happened to Miami doesn’t make what Gilbert said in his “open letter” right. This doesn’t vindicate his actions. This is not an “I told you so!” moment. Actually, what happened to Miami has nothing to do with him, but Gilbert apparently feels compelled to make himself part of the story with a season-ending jab at his former employee.
Meanwhile, his own NBA team finished with the league’s second-lowest win total, set a record for longest losing streak, won 19 games and have the honor of holding the No. 1 pick in a watered-down draft. Gilbert should focus more on those issues than trying to make it look like he’s sitting atop some sort of moral high ground.
It’s slightly ironic that this was addressed to Cuban; over the past year, Gilbert has zoomed past Cuban as the NBA owner most in need of a muzzle.
Was that short enough for ya? I’m trying.
Hello, party people. Let’s all get together for another one for More Talk’s fireside chats.
Tonight, the stage is set for Game 6 of these NBA Finals, where one of three overall storylines will emerge and lead all sports chatter:
The Dallas Mavericks are champions, which will lead to more LeBron bashing
The Miami Heat force Game 7 because of someone other than LeBron James, which will lead to more LeBron bashing.
The Miami Heat force Game 7 thanks to LeBron James, which I’m sure people will forget and just start asking: “why didn’t he do this sooner?” It’ll be a lose-lose-lose situation for him.
Personally, I think the Heat are going to win this game. I mean, don’t you want to see a Game 7 in this type of series? It’s been thrilling every step of the way, and everyone should want as much of it as the NBA can offer.
5:09 p.m. Anyway, we are off! Chalmers takes the first shot and airballs it. Nice.
5:09 p.m. But I think he deserves to be in the starting lineup tonight, as he is.
I just wrote a post on LeBron James to satisfy my need to say something about what appears to be the biggest controversy since the United States invaded Iraq.
So I really don’t want to talk about James in the introduction here. I don’t care about how many points he scores. He needs to play better, but everyone has seemingly forgotten another very real storyline for this game: The pressure is on the Mavericks tonight. They HAVE to win this game or this series is over.
But that doesn’t seem to matter. It’s all about LeBron. Ugh, whatever. Here’s a running blog on tonight’s game, a sporting event that I haven’t been eager to watch since Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals when my Lakers beat the Celtics. I hope you follow along with me.
And if these first four games are any hint, have some water beside you. Hydration has been key in this exhausting series.
6:01 p.m. J.J. Barea stays in the lineup. Man, I hope the Lakers find a way to sign him as a free agent during the offseason.
OK, I’ll stop talking about the Lakers.
6:02 p.m. I tried to download the coveritlive applet for this running blog, but that site has some sort of problem with WordPress. I really like that format, as it would allow me to type without having to refresh, and all of your comments could appear right along side me in real time.
Oh well. Maybe later. Maybe for Game 6 on Sunday.
6:04 p.m. However, if Miami wins tonight, I don’t know if I will want to watch Game 6.
That being said, I will not give a prediction on LeBron’s offense, but I will give a prediction on the game.
Heat 89, Mavericks 83
I know this is all about LeBron in the eyes of many, but I think the Heat as a team respond big after that Tuesday loss.
6:07 p.m. And here we go!! Dallas gets the tip.