A fourth face-off between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers isn’t exactly what fans wanted for the NBA finals. It is yet another final between the best players in the league vs. the best team in the league. In a way, we all know the result but let’s not assume that the journey will be any less exciting. What is especially important this season is that the Warriors are a refreshingly new side this season who have ‘earned’ their way through the playoffs and the Conference finals.
LeBron James was at his epic best during one of the two conference finals. In Game 7, he hit points after points during his 48 minutes of gameplay, showing class and resilience, burying the Boston Celtics. Playing against the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors were nothing short of deserving champions. Defending title holders, they defeated their opponents clearly and convincingly, all the while displaying poise, grace, and beautiful shots too.
Bob Myers, General Manager of the Warriors, appreciated his team, saying, “This was a harder-earned road, so far. We haven’t won anything yet. But to where we are now, what we’ve had to overcome was harder.”
This is a team plagued by injuries throughout the season. All four of the team’s All-Stars suffered major injuries during the season. But his statements become deeper when you find that the team has still performed consistently night after night, for four seasons. The frustration that builds up over the years, playing as an underdog even after performing spectacularly is now at its brim.
“Being hunted is different than hunting, and we’ve been in that role for a long time. The scrutiny that is on these guys, they can’t help but feel that. We were supposed to win every game we played this year. Every single game. That’s, I guess, the position you want to be in. But there’s a weight to that,” Myers said.
The team feels the weight of frustration, ambition and expectations and Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue empathizes with their cause. “Playing them for the fourth time is just an unbelievable achievement. I don’t think people understand how hard it is. How hard it is to win. And to get back to the Finals, it’s not easy. It’s tough. It’s a grueling season. When you get to the Finals so many times, the regular season becomes boring. It’s too long. So, to have the resilience to keep playing, keep fighting and not letting go of the rope, is huge.”
At this moment, it becomes important to analyze the two teams. Steve Kerr has done a great job with the Warrior, providing them strength, hope, and resilience. The Cavs know that they have the best player in the generation on their side who can single handedly turn the game to their favor. But will it be enough, especially when people are asking questions about Cleveland being a one-man team? The finals could swing in Kerr’s favor because the team has performed well even after losing former finals MVP Iguodala. They don’t have a talent deficit which keeps them in the game right till the end.
Even though it appears boring at first, the NBA finals this time could be the epiphany that fans were waiting for.