Friday, June 17, 2016

NBA Finals. Game 7

One way or the other, you just knew it was going to come to this. To suggest it was a conspiracy would be quite a reach, but a lot of weird things have happened along the way in the NBA playoffs to get the Cavs and Warriors where they are today. In no particular order, consider the following-----

They were many who thought Golden State could never come back from a 1-3 deficit in the Western Conference finals against OKC -- but they did to prevail and move on. A full seven game series, of course. Cha-ching.

GS feisty forward Draymond Green got slapped with a one game suspension after an incident in Game 4 of the Finals. This, despite CC's Lebron James clearly being the instigator. And no fouls were called at the time by the on-court officials. The league stepped in and, after "further review", decided to zap DG for a flagrant foul that never happened. He would have to sit out Game 5 back in Oakland. Had be rightfully been able to play, it is highly likely GS would have closed out the series in five games. They had just trounced Cleveland in Cleveland and had all the momentum.

But Cleveland would go west and win that game, and then Game 6 back home to force a deciding contest. More major cha-chings.

In the meanwhile, Cleveland's $100 million man Kevin Love seems to have pulled a disappearing act on the court. Once in a funk, other "superstar" Kyrie Irving finally decided to show up and torch the nets. Golden State's long range bombers are either deadly accurate or throw up more bricks than a mason on steroids. Warriors' big man Andrew Bogut went out with a hyper-extended knee on a fluke play. Though not a "star", AB was a valuable cog in the Warrior machine. His presence on the court made a big difference. Especially around the basket on defense and grabbing rebounds on both ends.

Both teams have worthy "role" players (benches). Sometimes they step up and have a big game. Sometimes they look like the subs they are.

Egged on by the media, fans from both cities have gone into taunting mode. Who's the bigger crybaby? Lebron James or Steph Curry? One is a serial flopper while the other can't seem to decide whether a certain piece of rubber is a mouth guard or a pacifier. Let's just say they can both be very waa-waa childish at times. To boot, one is covered with tats, while the other has virgin skin your average nun could be proud of. Hey, wait a second. Isn't this backwards? Lebron plays in Cleveland, which has been virgin-esque regarding sports titles for over half a century. Steph plays in Oakland, home of Hell's Angels. Bikers have tats.

[Idle thought. Not that it will ever happen, but would the Warriors trade Curry even up for James, and vice versa for the Cavs?]

So now it's on to a deciding Game 7. Of course it is. Hundreds of millions of dollars would have gone poof had the series ended back in Game 5. The hordes of talking heads would have been deprived of another week jabbering on 24/7 with their analyses, stats from hell, "expert" opinions/strategies, and worthless predictions. And just imagine how many millions of invaluable tweets and texts would have been curtailed. Not sure about you, but yours truly sits with bated breath waiting for every movie star, rapper, or clueless politician to weigh in with their latest pearls of wisdom regarding NBA hoops. Right. By and large, these folks know big-time basketball like Shaq knows open heart surgery. Would you want that big goof cutting your chest open to do a bypass or valve job? How scary a thought is that? Brrrr.

Yet given the Finals have made it to a -- surprise/cha-ching -- seventh game, another rarity could come into play. As mentioned above, GS coming back from a 1-3 deficit against OKC, after being blown out two games in a row, was a highly unlikely occurrence.

And wouldn't it be something if the Cavaliers were to march back into Oakland in Game 7 to pull off the same feat against the defending champion Warriors? Oh my. The talking heads -- at least those that didn't spontaneously combust with excitement -- would blather on for days, weeks, or at least until the mighty NFL started coming to life again in August.

The pressure cuts both ways. Should the Cavs lose, Lebron James will have a 2-5 record in NBA Finals. He'll catch his fair share of flak.Yet even without Bogut, should the Warriors blow a 3-1 lead and lose Game 7 at home, they'll be taken to the woodshed and thrashed as chokers. A record-setting 73 win regular season? The first unanimous MVP in league history? None of it will matter unless they can finally close the deal.

The good thing is while these two teams are game-planning for each other in what will be the winner-take-all contest, the US Golf Open is going on. This is an equally big deal.

Whoa. Can that be right? Sure, the US Open typically features a course so tough even the best golfers in the world struggle to shoot par, but dang. A 684 yard hole? Sure hope it's not a par 3. There's big hitters, and then there's ridiculous.....  

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