Friday, June 3, 2016

NBA Update

OK, so they had the big Game One of the NBA Finals last night.  LeBron James is representing the Eastern Conference in the Finals for the sixth year in a row -- he's been there in every Finals we've covered for the HP.  Here's how he's done:

In 2011, his Miami Heat led the Dallas Mavericks two games to one, only to see the Mavericks sweep the last three games by scores of 86-83, 112-103, and 105-95.

In 2012, his Miami Heat lost the first game to Oklahoma City, then swept the next four by scores of 100-96, 91-85, 104-98, and 121-106.

In 2013, his Miami Heat trailed three games to two against San Antonio, and trailed 94-89 with 28 seconds left in Game Six.  But the Heat rallied to send the game to overtime, and won a 103-100 thriller.  They then closed out the Spurs in Game Seven by the score of 95-88.

In 2014, his Miami Heat were tied 1-1 with the Spurs, only to see the Spurs sweep the last three games by scores of 111-92, 107-86, and 104-87.

In 2015, his Cleveland Cavaliers led the Golden State Warriors two games to one, only to see the Warriors sweep the last three games by scores of 103-82, 104-91, and 105-97.

So LeBron is 2-3 in this recent stretch of NBA Finals, with the chance to even things up against Golden State.  It was very hard to know what to make of this series.  The Cavs have been absolutely dominant in the East, going 12-2 in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  Meanwhile, the Warriors just barely survived the Western Conference playoffs, having to overcome a 3-1 deficit to defeat Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals.  Without you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it performances from Klay Thompson (in Game Six) and Stephen Curry (in Game Seven), the Warriors would be watching this series on TV.

And besides, the Cavs were banged up in last year's final, with both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love -- their two best players besides LeBron -- being hurt.  This year they are well.  Couldn't they bang Golden State around -- much as OKC did in the Western Conference Finals -- and beat them?

Last night, LeBron James had 23 points and 12 rebounds; Kyrie Irving had 26 points, and Kevin Love had 17 points.  Meanwhile, Stephen Curry went 4-15 from the field for only 11 points, and Klay Thompson went 4-12 for nine points.  So it must have been a blowout for the Cavs, right?

Wrong.  The game was pretty close until the fourth quarter, when the Warriors put Cleveland away with an awesome display of old school basketball.  With the Cavs doing everything they could to stop Curry and Thompson, the other Warriors took advantage of all the open shots and paths to the rim available to them, and they blew the game open.  Shaun Livingston had 20 points.  Harrison Barnes had 13.  Draymond Green had 16.  Leandro Barbosa had 11.  No less than seven Warriors scored in double digits, and Golden State cruised to an easy win:  104 to 89.  Cleveland will have to go back to the drawing board for Game Two.

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