Never in the history of basketball have such garbage series produced such great results in a conference finals.
In the Eastern Conference, no game has been decided by less than nine points; each individual game has sucked. The home team has won in a relative walk.
And the storyline—LeBron James is God, the rest of the Cavaliers are steaming hot dog crap, and the Celtics couldn’t beat the Maine Red Claws on the road.
But it’s a Game 7. In Boston. With Kevin Love in concussion protocol and LeBron quite possibly needing a 50-point triple-double just to make the game competitive.
Late in Game 6, Adam Amin of ESPN Radio beat the drum of “LeBron’s last game at Quicken Loans Arena in a Cavaliers uniform”…and someone tell LeBron, because that’s just the sort of bulletin board material he’ll need to make Paolo from Brazil happy.
(Something like five people from Twitter who are reading this will get that, but I’m leaving it in.)
The plain and simple of this is that if six games of this series combined with what we know not only of Love’s absence but of LeBron himself quite possibly still banged up from a minor injury he played through in the fourth quarter of Game 6 while logging 46 minutes in the game and 240 in the series thus far are anything to go by, the game will be a double-digit win for the Celtics.
But Cleveland has LeBron. And LeBron just put up 46 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in an elimination game; he averages more points per game in elimination games than anyone who has ever played the game.
Getting the Cavs to the Finals will secure LeBron’s legacy. Win a championship with this wretched supporting cast, and the argument is over; LeBron James is the greatest of all time.
Meanwhile, Out West…
The Rockets will do everything in their power to get Chris Paul out on the floor for Game 7, and don’t be surprised if CP3 comes out like Willis Reed, plays five minutes, then just sits the rest of the way while Eric Gordon and James Harden platoon with Gerald Green like they did in Game 6.
Then again, the Rockets got their butts kicked in Game 6, losing 115-86 and getting outscored 64-25 in the second half.
Harden had another one of those James Harden games where he played like crap but still put up great counting stats to impress people impressed by great counting stats.
He was 10-of-24 from the field, turned the ball over nine times, hit just 4-of-12 from three, and got bailed out by the refs to the tune of 8-of-9 from long range to get him to 32 points.
Thompson ended up with 35; Curry had 29. Throw in Kevin Durant‘s 23 points on 6-of-17 from the field and 10-of-14 from the line and what you’ve got there is classic Dub Nation.
The Warriors smacked the Rockets in Game 1 by 13 points. Their shooters seem to have thrown off the shackles of disastrous shooting from Games 4 and 5, and the Rockets either won’t have Chris Paul or will have him in a limited role.
The Warriors are the favorites on the road. They have the benefit of three straight Finals appearances’ worth of experience.
And the big question remains…is Mike D’Antoni the Marty Schottenheimer of basketball?
We’ll find out at Toyota Center on Monday.
The first round was a classic Cavs-Pacers series and not much else.
The second round was garbage.
The conference finals? Trash, but we got a pair of Game 7s.
And if the Finals turn out to be a hard-fought, knock-down, drag-out fight? All will be forgiven.
Let the games begin.