Finally, No More Fake Basketball – NBA Finals Have Begun
Finally, no more fake news and fake basketball.
Finally, no more one-and-done, come-and-gone Kentucky teams, no more Greg Popovich sitting out his star San Antonio Spurs players for numerous regular season games, and no more Wizards playoff games.
Finally, the NBA Finals are upon us. Warriors versus the Cavs.
Finally, we’ve got some real basketball played by real ball players with unreal skills playing like they really truly honestly want to win very much. Last night in Game One, which the Warriors won, Kevin Durant flew down the lane for dunks with his arm at least a foot above the rim. Channeling Curly Neal of the 1970s Harlem Globetrotters, Stef Curry double-clutched, double-hesitated, and double-head-faked — all while dribbling. He took his befuddled defender from the free throw line down the lane to the left for a one-handed, under-handed scoop layup. Two points. It was the kind of shot you could only make if you’ve practiced it thousands of times.
Kyrie Irving dazzled in a similar way for the Cavaliers, breaking down his defender from near the top of the key, exploding past that beaten person, soaring towards the hoop, adjusting his shot, and laying one in.
Then there was LeBron. LeBron was LeBron.
He was dunking with amped-up velocity compared with his normal thunderous dunks. He dished off to his teammates for assists. He was a freight train coming down the court dribbling the ball on the fast break. This train never gets stopped. He just mows down anyone in his way. Two points. Had he played in the NFL, he would have been the greatest defensive safety to ever play the game and the greatest tight end. Sorry, Gronk.
Then there was Draymond Green. The dude plays exactly the way any coach would want any of his players to play. Anyone who understands basketball knows how important it is to have a guy on your team who doesn’t care how many points he scores or shot attempts he gets as long as he gets to rebound like a monster, freak out people he’s defending by blocking their shots and stripping the ball from their hands, and generally just angry and mean and aggressive – and effective.
We have in this NBA Finals non-stop, exquisite basketball entertainment that mesmerizes and amazes. The ability of Kevin Durant, at 6 feet 11 inches tall, to dribble the length of the court by himself and soar towards the stadium room for flying dunks, is a rarity. Guys that big almost never have the ability to do this. Even more stunning, he does this with such grace, the way a much smaller guard does such as John Wall of the Wizards.
Some of the greatest basketball games I have ever seen occurred in the 1980s when the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics went at it in the NBA Finals. Those were basketball games you couldn’t take your eyes off of. You had to watch them because the competition was so fierce and raw, the intensity so full on, the players so talented, the hatred so palpable, the egos so enormous.
And on and on. All are in the Hall of Fame; all so skilled and fired up to win championships. All champions. Dislike was rampant between the teams.
You have the same type of battle going on in the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavs. Great players on great teams producing compelling theater. And they don’t love each other. They’re sick of each. Each is getting in their way to what they want – the championship ring.
Unlike so many regular season NBA games, these guys care about winning these games. The difference in intensity, emotion and passion in last night’s Game 1 which with the Warriors won and regular season NBA games is vast.
These guys want this title. Durant needs it so badly to prove he can win a championship. Curry craves it because he didn’t play great in last year’s NBA Finals and people said Kyrie Irving outplayed him. LeBron hungers it so he can snatch his fourth NBA title, getting him within two of the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. If he gets six, it will hard to argue that Bron is the greatest of all time. That’s what he wants.
He thinks about it every day.
Basketball can be boring and uninteresting. Too often in recent years, it has almost always been the case. Take the NCAA National Championship game in men’s basketball earlier this year. North Carolina won it. Does anyone care? Did anyone enjoy watching that game? North Carolina’s athletics program is under NCAA investigation for academic fraud. Any sports titles they win are tainted. The game was a bore and the whole championship didn’t move anyone’s basketball soul.
The entire NBA season was irrelevant because we have known the Cavs and Warriors were by far the two best teams and would face each other in the Finals. All of that was a yawn.
Now the sport of basketball has awoken from its sleep. We’re all wide awake watching this balls-to-the-ball basketball play out in the NBA Finals.
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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