Yes, Golden State vs. Cleveland in the Best of One capper to this ’15-’16 NBA season is The Real Deal. The Big Deal.
Arguably the Biggest Basketball Deal of the 21st C.
Game 7s are always special. Compelling. Especially when they’re the last game of a long, long season.
But, tonight’s is mo’ betta’. Actually better than that lame overused pop cultural reference.
What we have here is nothing short of a clashing of legends. A one game Texas Chainsaw Loser Leaves Town After Getting Tongues Cut Out Death Match to decide the premier professional hoops legacy of the millennium.
You know, uh, other than that, it’s just another ballgame, the last fix for hoopaholics until autumn.
In one corner, there’s LeBron James, who has appeared in every NBA Finals in some young fans’ memory, winning two, and rarely failing to perform in the manner we’ve always expected from the Akron phenom since he was about 12 years old.
He’s averaging about a gazillion points per, just as many rebounds, dishing assists like he’s John Stockton, blocking shots like he’s a HS senior playing against a bunch of 6th graders, and, all of a sudden, for the last two tilts, dominating the scenario like he’s Martin Scorcese in his director’s chair.
For whatever reasons, we the basketball public require such things, as bogus as such prerequisites are, James, we say, needs one more crown to cement his legacy as one of the greatest ever. It’s bullshit, of course, but we stand firm in our Missouri Show Me posture.
In the other corner is the impudent newcomer, the Golden State Warriors, who, more or less out of the blue, captured last year’s title, and, with their entertaining panache, the hearts of hoopaholics around the globe. Then, perhaps to their detriment given the physical toll it’s wrought, went out and won more games this regular season than any team ever.
If they win, they will have executed “the best season ever.”
The Dubs came back from a 1-3 deficit in the Western Finals to make it to the Championship Round.
The Cavs are looking to be the first team ever to come back from a 1-3 deficit to capture the NBA Crown.
Then there’s that essentially silly dialog over who is the best player in game these days?
The presumptive — and absolutely correct — choice, is LeBron James, a baller quite unlike any other who has ever stepped on the hardwood. The challenger, is Steph Curry, who has changed how we think of shooting more than anyone since Kenny Sailors (or somebody else less famous) first thought it a good idea to lift off before firing at the hoop.
As you know, one of these guys plays for the Cavaliers, the other for the Warriors.
So, yeah, this is way more than your usually compelling Game 7 to decide the title.
This is the Deal.
* * * * *
While this series is compelling as a whole, none of the games have been particularly close, or competitive really.
Game 1: GS by 15.
Game 2: GS by 33.
Game 3: Cle by 30.
Game 4: GS by 11.
Game 5: Cle by 15.
Game 6: Cle by 14.
Such a scenario is not without precedent.
There was the 1960 World Series. Until Bill Mazeroski clinched it for Pittsburgh’s Pirates with a 9th inning homer in Game 7, there was the Yankees’ 16-3 W in Game 2. Followed by the Pirates 10-0 shutout in Game 3. New York won 12-0 in Game 6 to send it the full 7 for a conclusion.
But, here’s an interesting number about the current series, that may signify something. Or not. Despite the game to game disparity in points, each team has tallied 610 total, heading into Game 7.
Golden State’s fans would like another smackdown tonight by their Dubs in Oakland, precipitating the biggest Bay Area love in since the Acid Tests in the Daze of Haight Ashbury.
Cleveland’s fans, long without a championship in any sport, would love the same of their Cavs, putting to rest once and for all the ignominy of the Cuyahoga River actually catching fire in ’69.
While the rest of us hoopaholics pray for the equivalent of that 1960 10-9 Mazeroski walk off decider, Steph Curry or LeBron James netting a buzzer beater for the title.
— Seedy K