Friday, May 19, 2017

Clash of the titans

Yours truly has seen a lot of sports over the years, and I like to think I know as much about sports history as the next average schmuck.

But we might be seeing a first this year. Two teams (the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers) that are so much better than everybody else as to be almost blush-worthy. Parity? WHAT parity?

Both have steamrolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs undefeated and appear to be in the process of doing the same in the conference finals.

In the west, for a second it looked like San Antonio might give GS a run for their money. The Spurs had built almost a 30 point lead in Game 1, even without the services of Tony Parker, who had earlier been lost for the season.

Alas, then Kawhi Leonard went down. It likely sealed their doom. The Warriors roared back to claim a narrow victory. In the Game 2, they blistered the Spurs by a whopping 36 points. It would come as little surprise if the Warriors polished off the Spurs in a sweep as well.

In the east, Cleveland waltzed into Boston and handed the Celtics a 13 point defeat in Game 1. Surely the Celtics would regroup for Game 2, right? Hardly. They just got absolutely pulverized on their home court by a colossal 44 -- count em -- 44 points.

If it was that bad in Boston, how lopsided might it get for the next two games in Cleveland? 60 points? 80? Or maybe the Cavs will sit their starters after the first half. Color this series over. Not even close.

But back to where I started. We've seen, or read of great teams in the past, even dynasties. John Wooden's UCLA Bruins in the 60s. Bill Russell's Celtics a bit before that. Wayne Gretzky's Oilers of the 80s. Jordan's Bulls of the 90s. Certainly Geno Auriemma's UConn Lady Huskies over the last decade or so. All won lots of titles and were a definite cut above the field.

We've known of individuals in various sports that were clearly dominant. Serena Williams of late. Tiger Woods of a generation ago. Several boxers over the years.

But to my feeble memory, I just can't recall when there were ever two teams in the same sport that stood so far above everybody else as this year's Cavs and Warriors. Celtics and Lakers of the 80s? No doubt they were good, but not THAT much better than a few other teams.

True, Golden State and Cleveland have met in the Finals the last two years as well, splitting them. But this year, especially since the playoffs started, they've -- excuse the tired cliche -- taken it to a whole new level.

It's the proverbial men against boys. Beatdown after beatdown. And they seem to be getting worse as time goes on.

It's almost hard to believe one of them is going to lose 4 games -- but somebody has to.

Some of the amtch-ups in the inevitable Finals read like a "dream team". Lebron/Durant. Curry/Irving. Draymond/Love. Other mega-stars like Klay Thompson will be out there running and gunning as well.

Tons of firepower. But both teams are excellent defensively and on the boards as well.

Something's gotta give.

Personally, I wouldn't begin to hazard a guess as to which team will ultimately prevail.

But what a Finals it's shaping up to be. The rubber match between the two best teams in recent years that are both better than ever this year.

Clash of the titans indeed.

Oh yeah, bring it on....

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