Why your attention for these finals should not be on who you think.
As we embark on the 2018 NBA finals, we will witness two amazing parts of history being made. The Golden State Warriors will take on the Cleveland Cavilers for an unprecedented fourth time, the first time this will happen in the NBA’s 71-year history. You would think that probably the Boston Celtics led by Bill Russell and Bob Cousy played the Minneapolis/L.A. Lakers that many times? Nope. The second part of history is that, LeBron James will be playing in his 8th (yes, you’re reading that right) straight finals. I’m gonna let that sink in for a moment.
Despite this will be another star-studded finale to the season; we already know what the main attractions can do. KD is going to get buckets. Steph will shoot from the locker room and walk away like it’s nothing, probably shimmy. Klay Thompson is going to remind everyone why he’s the other half of the Splash Brothers, probably drop 30-something pts in a quarter again. Draymond is going to piss someone off. LeBron is going to be LeBron. We’ll put Kevin Love in here once his status is cleared. However, the attention shouldn’t be on the obvious, but on the rest of the supporting group for both teams.
The GSW have a dominant starting five, no doubt, but it’s their bench that really proves them to be a somewhat of a leviathan. The bench led by Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, is the 1-2 punch behind the Warriors might. Think of them as Falcon and War Machine of The Avengers, they come in the frame at the right time. If you’ve been looking at Golden State these past two seasons, the starters were at times, lackadaisical or even lethargic. There were games where errant passes were thrown or they’ll dribble playing ‘come get the ball’ with their opponents, like you played with your little sibling, thus, leading to lots of turnovers. Coach Steve Kerr had to look to his veteran secondary duo many times to reel the team in. Iguodala and Livingston provide great defense, hustle plays, they take care of the ball, sometimes they make the second unit look like all-stars, and they can give you 2 or 3 highlight plays. Yes people, they can still get up there.
On the other side, the rest of the Cavs will be interesting to watch. As there are only three players remaining from the 2015-2016 championship squad: LeBron, Kevin Love, and J.R. Smith. We all know and saw what LeBron can do, but it shouldn’t be only on him now.
The Eastern Conference Finals went a full series, 7 brutal games. After game 7, which the Cavs won, something unusual happened; the buzz wasn’t about James but about Jeff Green. Green poured in 19 pts and grabbed 8 rebs. This was the same Jeff Green who six years ago had open-heart surgery, due to a haphazard revelation during a physical while with the Boston Celtics. It wasn’t a matter of if he was going to play again, but would he live.
The attention should also be placed on J.R. Smith. Smith is a very streaky shooter. When he’s on, he’s like Steph Curry..sort of. However, when he’s off, you wonder if he realizes that it’s not a video game but an actual game, with a lot at stake.
Kevin Love is still an important piece to the Cavs quest for a second ring, his scoring will be a huge help for James and his hard-fought rebounds will continue to prove to people that he’s not soft as some would think. Tristan Thompson will be an important inside piece, for he’s really one of possibly three players on the Cavs that can battle Draymond down low all game.
So now it’s come to the battle of the supporting cast. Both coach Ty Lue and coach Kerr will be engaged in another great chess match, but this time, with very important surrounding pieces. One coach has more pieces than the other; we’ll just have to see whom. Game on.