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?
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.
I’ve been trying to think about that title question all day, and I can’t remember a time when the masses called upon one player to provide them with much, even though there will be a tomorrow for everyone involved after tonight.
We are just about an hour away from Game 5 of this year’s NBA Finals, a game which has built up the most anticipation inside of me for any sporting contest since Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals.
It’s Game 5, but it is certainly Game 7 for the Mavericks. The pressure** should be on them. There is no way Dallas is going to win a Game 7 in Miami, much less both Game 6 and 7 in that same city. If Dallas loses tonight, the final one or two games of this series will just be academic. With a win, the Heat are champions. Maybe not officially tonight, but it will happen before the end of next week.
If Miami loses tonight, they go home trailing in this series, 3-2. In reality, it would be a distressing situation for Miami, but I don’t think anyone is going to write them off as dead, given their talent.
Unfortunately, we no longer live in reality. Tonight, we all exist in a sports world where famine, pestilence and all-out Armageddon converge upon a 6-foot-8-inch basketball player from Akron, Ohio.
I am infinitely grateful that the Lakers aren’t a part of this madness.
I don’t have a true favorite in this fight. I would really like to see Miami lose, but I am not a Mavericks fan. In the end, I really don’t care who wins.
But this series has kept me nervous throughout. If the Lakers were facing the Heat, I’m pretty sure I would be pulling a Dirk Nowitzki right now — sick and exhausted beyond words, running a fever, unsure of how much strength I have left in my body. I would be afraid for my life if Kobe and Co. were involved.
These four games have been unlike anything I have experienced in an L.A.-less NBA Championship round. Each game has been back and forth, up and down. Just when you think the Heat have it under control and pull away, the Mavs rise from the dead over and over again.
But they never get too far ahead.
The second half of each contest has had me grabbing my head in amazement. The drama has been intense, like two heavyweight champs standing in front of each other and trading body blows with their guard completely down.
Now we’ve got a ultra-critical swing game coming Thursday night. If the Mavericks win, they will travel back to Miami with a 3-2 series lead. If the Heat win, a championship is all but theirs.
It feels destined to be an all-time classic in a series that has been nothing but classic. So I’ll be here Thursday night doing a running blog of Game 5. I hope you can join me while this most compelling basketball theater present its latest chapter.
I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. Since everyone has to barbecue or at least go to one on this weekend, I had kabobs consisting of steak, peppers and onions yesterday, with baked beans and corn on the cob on the side. Good times.
The rest is kind of blurry. So I’m going to play a big game of catch up here, as I usually do. …
- I’ve got the Heat beating the Mavericks in five games as the NBA Finals begin tonight. Maybe Dallas can win two games at home and push it to six games given the 2-3-2 format. But I don’t see anyone beating Miami on its own floor. That team is just rolling. And as we saw in the Eastern Conference Finals, seemingly no deficit, no matter how late, is too deep for Miami. Kudos to the Bulls for making Oklahoma City’s choke job look ordinary.
But I digress.
True, Miami hasn’t faced an offense this explosive or extensive during these playoffs. But Dallas’ defense isn’t good enough to match up with Miami. I think that’s where this series will be decided. LeBron’s the MVP and no, the hate that he and Wade bring up so often doesn’t stop after this series. It’s just vanquished for a summer.
- Charles Barkley picked Dallas to win this series. But he also picked the Bulls in the last round and I think he may have even taken the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semis. Clearly, his dislike for the team’s preseason attitude and its fan base has blinded him.
So, I was all set to write another one of these running blogs for the NBA Finals on Thursday night. When I tried to access this site, imagine my surprise when I saw a white screen that said: “WordPress.com will be back in a minute.”
So, the site — and thus this blog — was out of order for about the first quarter. I’m sure this development ruined your night. But fear not. I used a Word document to act as if I was writing as actual blog during the game. Man, I’m lonely. Anyway, enjoy this stream of consciousness of a game that was completed about four hours ago. Here’s hoping that WordPress won’t mistakenly unplug its server right before Game 5 on Sunday night.
Talk about a pivotal game? Game 3 was nothing. This is a truly pivotal game! Lakers win, series is all but over. Celtics win and we’ve got a new series. This is that must-win, must-watch game. So please, watch it along with me as I write a running blog for Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
5:59 p.m. Eddie Rush is the lead official tonight. Kendrick Perkins better be fully aware or he might pick up a cheap technical – that will be rescinded tomorrow.
6:00 p.m. I think the Celtics are going to win tonight, just because they HAVE to win. Celtics by a few to even this series back up.
6:01 p.m. Paging Paul Pierce. Please show up, Paul Pierce.
6:02 p.m. Derek Fisher certainly won’t be as much of an impact and Ray Allen won’t be as bad as he was in Game 3. But the Lakers still have a lot of room for improvement on the offensive side. Gasol and Bryant should be more efficient and productive tonight.
6:05 p.m. Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the Stanley Cup last night and for not making me feel guilty that I don’t watch enough NHL hockey for another four months.
6:06 p.m. Seriously, these locker room pep talks from the coaches – do they ever say anything that you couldn’t have thought of yourself?
6:07 p.m. Ridiculous fade-away basket from Kobe starts us off. Completely unguardable. The dictionary has no suggestions for that word.