Wasn’t it just a bit more than a week ago, when I, who would portend some hoops expertise, declared that the Warriors would have to best their arch rival Clippers in the Western Finals to make it to the Championship Round?
Yes, it was.
We all know how that’s workin’ for me. And Steve Ballmer’s LA LAs. Not well.
So, it is with a minimal but palpable modicum of trepidation that I declare there shall be a Warriors vs. Cavaliers, Left Coast vs. Midwest, King LeBron vs. Prince Stephen, Injury Depleted vs. Relatively Healthy, Ratings Worthy NBA Final betwixt and between The Team on the Lake vs. The Team from the Bay.
Golden State vs. Cleveland.
It oughta be interesting.
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Watching young Mr. MVP Curry go off the other night in Game Trois, I thought of a childhood pal, Jimmy Greenburg.
Jimmy was real good at sports. A dominating pitcher in Little League. A key reserve on a HS b-ball power, he came off the bench in the 7th Region tourney, drained a couple of long balls, which were almost but not quite enough to best Mike Silliman’s eventual St. X state champs.1
Jimmy, like Curry, played with an infectious but not cloying cockiness. He once boasted to me that he could beat me in any sport. So, I spent a summer, trying to ratchet up my paddleball game. Until I felt like challenging him at a game he rarely played.
He beat me.
Why I was reminded of my childhood chum was he had that same confidence as Curry, that same little skip in his swagger after plunging the dagger.
If Stephen Curry continues to mug to the masses after made shots next season, it will become an annoyance. But, not yet. This is his coming out party. And there’s something so stupendous about his game these days, that he is to be given latitude.
Skip on, Stephen. For the moment, you da man!
I’m sure I’ve watched somebody — Magic maybe, Jordan perhaps, The Pearl, The Logo? — have sequences like Curry did the other night, when Golden State ripped out Houston’s soul and stomped on it.
A drive down the left of the lane, ending with a one-handed, left-handed scoop shot that kissed off the very tip top of the glass. Followed by a drive down the right side of the lane, ending with a one-handed, right-handed scoop swish.
George Gervin be smilin’.
Plus more than a few step back threes. That he gets off so quickly, you think it’s televised trickeration, that the network has somehow cut a second out of the action between when he gets the ball and releases it.
I don’t like ballers playing to the crowd after a successful hoop. Buuuuuuuut, Curry’s debutante dance is so scintillating, so fresh, I’m cutting him some slack for mugs and Jimmy Greenburg skips. This season only.
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To grab onto another metaphor from when we was young, LeBron James is like a 9th grader, playing with and against a bunch of sixth graders.
He’s just bigger. He’s just so much better.
Without Irving and Love, the second and third best players on his team, and with some support from tatt- begat J.R. Smith, James has willed and strong-armed his Cavaliers to the same 3 nil conference final advantage as Curry.
37 points. After not tallying for the first 15 minutes of the tilt.
Neither a gimpy ankle, nor an aching back, nor leg cramps, nor horrid shooting, nor exhaustion prevented him from domination, from draining a corner trey in OT, followed by a driving deuce to hogtie the Hawks.
In today’s pro game where an extra hop to the hoop — or two — is allowed, where bumping in the paint is accepted interplay, the physically dominating –and, yes, supremely talented — James is clearly the best.
Will all that be enough to overcome a better team, GState? It wasn’t last year, when the Spurs were clicking on all cylinders, and James’ Heat team wilted.
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Matthew Dellavedova may be your darlin’ du jour, but not mine.
Going on the floor for the ball is what feisty ballers do.
Going on the floor for the ball, then rolling into other players like it’s a battle of Aussie Rules football is what dirty ballers do.
Yes, Al Horford lost his cool, and went Hulk Hogan. He deserved to be tossed.
But you can’t blame him for the momentary lapse of cool. MD had taken out Kyle Korver on a body roll in the previous game, and was attempting to do it again. Unfortunately, it sealed Atlanta’s fate in the game, and the series. Horford’s about as close to a go to guy as the Hawks have.
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Anyway, expect to see brooms in the Quicken Tuesday night.
I doubt there will be many in Houston tonight. But it shall be interesting to see if the Rockets can salvage one W over GState. Which would be their first of the series. Their first of the season.
— Seedy K