It’s hard to believe that it has already been three years. This day three years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the 3-1 comeback against the 73-win Golden State Warriors to win not only the first Championship in franchise history but Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years.
Eleven months ago, in an article detailing why the Boston Celtics were the favorites for the 2019 NBA title, I labeled the Golden State Warriors dynasty as ‘fragile’. While my crowning of the Celtics proved to be premature (I wasn’t the only one fooled), this description of the Warriors proved to be correct, although I did not envisage it having such a literal meaning.
The Golden State Warriors fought off a feisty Houston Rockets team in six games while the Portland Trail Blazers used their shooting to get past the Nuggets in seven games to get to the Western Conference Finals. Injuries have opened up this series and it may be closer than initially thought. Both teams are capable of putting up offensive fireworks giving them both a shot at the NBA Finals, here’s a look at how. Continue reading →
Last year, the Golden State Warriors needed a Chris Paul injury in order to eke out a Western Conference Finals victory against Houston in seven games. This year, they showed weakness in a first-round series for the first time in recent memory – needing six games to advance past their first-round opponent for the first time in the Steve Kerr era. Meanwhile, James Harden is heavily involved in the MVP conversation for the fourth time in the last five years after putting up historic numbers and his team finished their first-round series against Utah in a convincing five games. Yet none of that seems to matter. Continue reading →
The season was already over. Prior to last night, the Golden State Warriors had been even more dominant (if that’s possible) than usual over the last month, going 13-1 in their last 14 games. Stephen Curry is a making a charge for MVP. Kevin Durant has been so unerringly consistent that the NBA world seems to have forgotten that he is having another sensational year. Klay Thompson can score 50 points while barely dribbling the basketball. They perhaps lacked a little depth and were vulnerable at center, but the small matter of DeMarcus Cousins‘ return has solved that issue emphatically. In short, Golden State seemed a lock for the title.
A huge ovation ensued from the remaining crowd at the Pepsi Center with 3:53 to go when word came over the PA saying: “Checking into the game, please welcome number eight, Jarred Vanderbilt.” This was his first action in 5-on-5 basketball since last February. 329 days ago. “I know he did not play until the end of the game and it was well in hand, but Jarred was really nervous about playing,” head coach Mike Malone explained. “He hadn’t played since last February. For him to get over that fear and to go out there and have three or four impactful minutes — I mean, that pass he made was an incredible pass — he showed you that in three minutes and 53 seconds he gets you three rebounds — he is a rebounding machine. I am happy he got those first-game jitters out of the way.” Vanderbilt finished his almost four minutes of play with one incredible assist in transition to Malik Beasley, he showed off his highly touted rebounding ability wrangling in three rebounds and the most important of all the stats, he scored his first career point, going 1-2 at the free-throw line. Vanderbilt summed it up saying “It was just amazing to get back out there and start playing again.”