Since the onset of the playoffs, my mantra has been consistent….“I’m believing in Golden State until they give me reason not to!” For a while there….specifically, three games during the Western Conference Finals….it was “until they, or OKC, give me reason not to!” Down 1-3…with their backs against the proverbial wall, the champs did what champs are supposed to do…pushed the envelope all the way to a Game 7 and ultimately snatched victory!
In no way am I making light of their opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers. If for no other reason then I’d find it unwise to bet against a guy, who for the last six years has had first dibs on the Eastern Conference Championship Trophy. Yet, not having a horse in the race allows for a fairly well rounded perspective of the game itself….not love for Dub Nation….not love for The Land….but love for two teams leaving their best on the floor, each and every game…
Cleveland fans are defiantly confident that this year’s outcome will be different, thanks to the presence of Kyrie & Kevin. Not to have their feathers ruffled, Golden State fans strut like peacocks with fond memories of the regular season. Fondest of them all…meeting up with Cleveland in Cleveland with all superstars present and accounted for…and bringing down the noise of Quicken Loans Arena to the level of a campus library during finals week! Have the Cavs improved over the course of the year? Most definitely! Are we then to assume the Warriors have not moved the needle in the area of improvement?
The steamroll effect Cleveland displayed through the playoffs….until a hard stop in Toronto….was quite impressive! On the flip side, Golden State had to put in w-o-r-k on its path back to the Finals. A quick look at the roads travelled and we can’t overlook the worst kept secret in the league—the talent level of teams in the east pales in comparison to their counterparts in the west. Even following a down to the wire conference championship series, Warriors Nation appear as concerned as a main event fighter with the undercard. Meanwhile, Cavs Nation may be looking for a correlation between more tested equals less rested!
It is widely known that a team’s role players tend to show up and show out…at home!…on a more consistent basis than on the road. My greatest concern in this area leans toward Cleveland. Coasting through several rounds of the playoffs is all fun & games….until you meet up with bona fide competition in the form of defending champions. Coasting in THIS series is not hardly conceivable…for either team. What does one do, if and when crunch time makes an appearance? Having come out on the sunny side of this occurrence…many times over…Golden State’s role players have an edge in the “been there, done that” category.
Whoever emerges victorious will be a-ok with me. It would be cool to see the Warriors put the cherry on top of a sensational season! It would be cool to see LBJ and his court do what he came back to do!
Still believing in Golden State until they….or the Cavs, of course….give me reason not to! May the best team win!!