Now that a proper mourning period for all things football has come and gone, my attention has turned to basketball. College was an easy transition as the Sooners continue to hold their own amongst the top-ranked teams. Besides, no time like the present to start giving teams a thorough examination ahead of March Madness.
It is commonly known that March Madness never disappoints. This year though, is readying itself to outdo each and every one of its predecessors. Combining all of one’s research, educated guesses and toss-ups into a tourney bracket is part of the wonderment of its magic. Once again, well ahead of conference tournaments and bracket seeds, I’m feeling confident my selections will lead to the elusive perfect bracket! Hmmm, we’ll see….
In the professional ranks, the Chinese New Year ushered in the year of the monkey. Yet this NBA season can easily be dubbed…pun intended….the Year of the Warriors. Will they or won’t they repeat as league champions? Golden State’s record speaks for itself. Whether they surpass the previous single season winning record set by the Bulls back in the Jordan, Pippen & Co. era remains to be seen. Either outcome though won’t take away from the fact that to watch them execute plays…on both ends of the court…is a sugar filed treat for the eyes. My heart genuinely goes out to fans of the other 29 teams as they watch, in anguish, as their team attempts to be THE team to put another digit in the loss column of the Warriors.
Much has been made of the unselfish style of play demonstrated by the teammates. In large part it is widely thought the presence of ego is nonexistent….that the guys are focused on team concepts and not the distraction of advancing one’s individual brand. Can’t say I agree with the general aspects of that concept. For the out of the gate superstars of the league, I’d never fault them from getting all they can from an industry that gets all it can from them. To be fair though, none of the Warriors were THAT guy from the onset….focusing on brand wasn’t an option because brands weren’t being offered. However, I do believe being overlooked is the juice in their drive…which turns into the drive of the rest of the league to bring Golden State’s run to a screeching halt:
Oh if only the Cavs had a healthy K-Love and Kyrie during the Finals last year…naysayers of Golden State’s awesomeness said. Hmmm, the Cavs appeared to be the picture of health when they were handed a loss after a tightly contested game on Christmas Day. Yet, it is worth noting that players, coaching staff and fans alike appeared a bit under the weather a few weeks later as a result of Golden State picking and rolling through Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena.
Adding to the fray is the misguided arrogance making its way through Clippers fandom. The Warriors didn’t have to go through them remember? Why, yes I do remember…..the Clippers couldn’t finish the food on their plate in the form of the Rockets, so Houston went to the Conference Finals instead. Alas, if memory serves me correctly, a three game series has taken place this season…and in it, the Clippers are 0-3.
Don’t get me wrong…I firmly believe in two sports truths—(1) anybody can be beaten by anybody and (2) it is difficult to beat the same team several times in a season…not to mention carrying the momentum to the postseason. I also believe in the truth my eye test has revealed….it will be a challenge…of the climbing Mt. Everest variety….to win four games against the Golden State Warriors in a condensed timeframe.
Just like my pursuit of the perfect tourney bracket and Golden State’s declared pursuit of Chicago’s record…. a team having the necessary components to prevent a Warriors back to back championship falls in the “remains to be seen” category !