Not since D-Day in 1944 has a group of people defending their turf been so thoroughly shot to pieces on the sixth of June as the Cleveland Cavaliers got at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in a 110-102 second-half comeback Wednesday night.
Dub Nation is just one win away from sending your columnist into hibernation for the next four months (this is a lie; there will be Pacers talk and free agency talk and draft talk. The hiatus won’t start until early July, and the previews will be back like they always are starting shortly after Labor Day.)
And truthfully? I’m kind of done with this series. Even though there have been two close games late in the fourth quarter, and even though the combination of J.R. Smith forgetting the score and Stephen Curry rising from the dead made for two great narratives in the three games so far, the series itself is a forgone conclusion. Just crown the champion already. The playoffs were interesting in the conference finals, and Cavs-Pacers was for my money the best first-round series in recent memory and possibly of all time, but it’s over.
2017 Game 3
2018 Game 3 pic.twitter.com/HdR3nxI3jX
— Kevin Durwob (@World_Wide_Wob) June 7, 2018
Yeah. The mercenary’s gonna win Finals MVP again. I think any talk of Steph doing so got extinguished by his sickening 3-of-16, 1-of-10 shooting night.
Yes, Steph had five rebounds and six assists, but to call his 11-5-6 a Lonzo Ball Game would be to insult Lonzo Ball; Ball’s a better shooter than Steph was Wednesday night.
No, it was Durant, with his 15-of-23 shooting, 6-of-9 from three, 7-of-7 from the line, 43-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist masterpiece, who showed that the 2014 MVP, freed of Russell Westbrook‘s World of Stat Padding, is putting the icing on a Hall of Fame career that will be signed, sealed, he-could-get-hit-by-a-bus-it-doesn’t-matter delivered once the Warriors close this series out, either in Game 4 on the road or, like last year, in Game 5 after the Cavs secured the “gentleman’s sweep” by eking one out on their own floor.
But then again, how are the Cavs supposed to steal a win when they can’t get one when LeBron puts up a 51-8-8, and they can’t get one when Steph shoots 18.8 percent from the field and only does that well because he came alive to score five quick points to seal the win when to that point he’d been 1-of-14 and 0-of-9, only 7.1 percent overall?
It’s not like Klay Thompson came alive; he had 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
And it’s not like Draymond Green shot the lights out either (10 points, 4-of-8.)
Kevin Durant just did what LeBron couldn’t because even when the Warriors decide it’s a good day to collectively play like garbage, they’re still better than the Canton Charge squad LeBron’s got behind him.
Along the same lines, Kevin Love had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a first half that saw the Cavs go up 16-4 before the Warriors even got the warmups off and then, after they blew that 12-point lead in that same first quarter, they built another one, leading by 13, 50-37, on a Love three with 4:06 left in the first half.
But nope; the Warriors won another third quarter, 31-23, took a lead into the fourth, and then, trailing 97-96 with 3:11 left, got those five quick Steph points and ample help from the rest of the squad to seal the deal.
And oh by the way, Andre Iguodala is back.
This series is over. This season is over. The champions are crowned. It’s just a matter of which floor it ends on.
The whole thing is like if Micky Ward fought Arturo Gatti a fourth time…with the Warriors as Gatti.
But man, what a duel down the stretch as LeBron put up a triple-double (33p/10r/11a) in a valiant but ultimately futile effort:
— NBA (@NBA) June 7, 2018
— NBA (@NBA) June 7, 2018
Next Breakfast Special: Saturday. Feature in the meantime? Of course, reflecting on the complaints about four straight series with the same Finals opponents (spoiler alert: the ’86 Rockets make an appearance.) That’s coming Friday morning in this time slot.
Beyond that? I did say I’d wait until after the Finals to talk offseason. So if Golden State wins Friday, you’ll see the first of that early next week.
So stay tuned, and thanks for reading!