FIRST OFF, if you took my pick (GSW -5.5), you made the easiest money you’ll ever make in your life tonight. After a 101-92 win for the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, this makes the fourth consecutive year the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will meet in The Finals. You were misguided in life if you, for even a second, believed the Houston Rockets were going to beat Golden State tonight. You were misguided and your parents probably disowned you because you were dumb at a very young age.
Cleveland defeated a depleted and young Celtics squad last night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on the road in Boston. For most sports fans, this is becoming a redundant and boring display of sports as a whole. You don’t just see it in the NBA, you see it literally in all of sports.
College Football? Alabama. NFL? New England. College Basketball? UNC or Duke. Women’s Basketball? UConn.
15 years ago? It wasn’t like this. We had new faces every other season in every sport. Now, you can almost guarantee who is going to be competing for a title in basketball, football, baseball, golf, etc.
It makes you wonder why it’s always the same teams every single year in every single sport competing for the hardware. Why never a new face? Is Vegas losing their ass, or is ESPN/TNT ratings in jeopardy of losing millions because of disinterested fans of the game? This game looked a lot like a WWE match. Totally scripted.
Next year, Alabama will defeat Clemson or Ohio State for a National Championship. The Duke Blue Devils will defeat some undeserving program like Michigan or Michigan State who makes it out of their region, byway of total luck. The UConn women’s basketball team will drill Indiana Technical School of Technology by 100.
The biggest lock I could give you, though, is the Cleveland Cavaliers losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Absolute and total LOCK.
This bullshit all started in the NBA back in 2014:
Going into the season, the Cavaliers were favored to make it to the NBA Finals. The team started off the season poorly, with Love struggling in his new role and SG Dion Waiters unable to handle being relegated to a secondary role. The Cavaliers started off the season with a dismal record of 19–20. James missed two weeks in January with a back injury. Later that month, the Cavaliers traded away Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal with the New York Knicks. They acquired three-point specialist J.R. Smith and defensive asset Iman Shumpert. The team also acquired center and rim protector Timofey Mozgov in a separate trade. These players were critical for the team’s return to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Warriors started off the season 21-2, with a 16-game winning streak, which made them the early title favorites. Stephen Curry immediately became a Most Valuable Player candidate. Curry was improving off of last year’s All-Star season. Klay Thompson became one of the best shooting guards, three-point shooters, and two-way players in the league. Draymond Green averaged about 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Rookie head coach Steve Kerr was a candidate for Coach of the Year.
The two teams split their head-to-head meetings that season, each winning on its home court.
Irving, James, Curry, and Thompson were all named to their respective NBA All Star teams, with Curry finishing first in the all-star voting (1,513,324), and LeBron James finishing in second (1,470,483). Curry won the NBA MVP Award, averaging 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, and shot 44.3% from three-point territory. James was third in MVP voting. He averaged 25.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 7.4 APG. They were featured on the All-NBA First Team. Irving and Thompson made the All-NBA team as well. The Cavaliers finished the season with a record of 53–29, and the Warriors finished the season with a record of 67–15.
2015 NBA FINALS
The Warriors and the Cavaliers only lost five games combined in the first three rounds of the playoffs. For the first time in NBA Finals history, both teams were coached by rookie head coaches with Steve Kerr and David Blatt. The Cavaliers faced injury trouble, losing Love in the first round to a separated shoulder. Irving left Game 1 of the Finals in overtime after fracturing his left kneecap. The Warriors won Game 1 in a 108–100 overtime thriller. Game 2 also went into overtime, the all-around efforts of LeBron James and Matthew Dellavedova’s surprisingly stellar defense on Steph Curry took the game 95–93. James had carried the limping Cavaliers to a Game 3 win and a 2–1 lead over the Warriors. The Warriors would win the next three games to take home the 2015 NBA Championship. Andre Iguodala would win the NBA Finals MVP, although James averaged 35.8 PPG, 13.3 RPG, and 8.8 APG in a losing effort.
FINALS FOR THE AGES
The 2016 NBA Finals saw the Cavaliers and Warriors meet for the second straight season. The Warriors won Games 1 and 2 in Oakland before the series moved to Cleveland. While Cleveland won Game 3 at home in convincing fashion, the Warriors took Game 4 to set up a potential series-clincher at home. During the game, Draymond Green committed a flagrant foul on LeBron James. After reviewing the incident post-game, the league determined that the altercation warranted a flagrant 1 foul, which put Green over the NBA’s flagrant foul limit and meant he would be suspended for Game 5.
Kyrie Irving and LeBron James both scored 41 points in Game 5 to stay alive on the road, becoming the first pair of teammates to score at least 40 points in a Finals game. Back in Cleveland, LeBron James continued his explosive scoring, tallying another 41-point game in a Game 6 rout of the Warriors that saw a dominating 31-9 opening sequence and a late-game ejection of Stephen Curry. James became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal to score over 40 points in back-to-back NBA Finals games.
With the series shifting back to Oracle Arena for the championship decider, the Warriors and the Cavaliers were neck-and-neck for most of Game 7. Late in the 4th quarter, with the score tied 89-89, LeBron James made a memorable chasedown block on Andre Iguodala to save a go-ahead basket. Soon after, Kyrie Irving hit a 3-pointer to give Cleveland the lead, and they held on to win the game 93-89. This was Cleveland’s first franchise title and made them first team in NBA Finals history to come back from a 3–1 lead. LeBron James became only the third player in NBA history to have a triple double in a Finals Game 7 and became the first unanimous Finals MVP after leading in all five categories of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
2016-17 NBA FINALS
On July 4, 2016, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors in free agency. He averaged 25.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, and 1.6 BPG. After finishing 67–15, the first team in NBA history to win at least 67 games in three straight seasons, the Warriors went 12–0 in the Western Conference playoffs. They became the third team in league history to sweep all three rounds after the Los Angeles Lakers (1988–89and 2000–01), doing it against the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, and San Antonio Spurs, and the first to do so going 12-0 (the previous teams went 11-0 when the first round was best-of-five). Curry and Durant became the only players in NBA history to enter the NBA Finals averaging at least 25 PPG and shooting 50% from the field.
In the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers willfully made it to the Finals, going 12–1, cruising past the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors in convincing series sweeps. In the Conference Finals, the Cavaliers defeated the Boston Celtics in five games. James was considered to be playing his best basketball of his career, entering the Finals averaging 32.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 2.2 SPG, and 1.4 BPG. He shot 57% from the field and 42% from three. James averaged a triple double in the finals. Kevin Love also played his best basketball as a Cavalier, averaging 17.2 PPG 10.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, shooting 46% from the field, and 44% from behind the arc. Kyrie Irving set a career playoff-high 42 points during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston. The Warriors and Cavaliers had a combined 24–1 record entering the Finals, the fewest amount of combined losses entering the Finals ever.
The series faced high anticipation as the Warriors, now dubbed as a “super-team,” looked for revenge on their East coast foe from the previous year’s loss. The Warriors easily took Games 1 and 2 at home, defeating the Cavaliers 113–91, and 132–113. Game 3 looked to be in the Cavs’ favor, until an 11–0 run by the Warriors in the closing minutes emerged, capped off by a dagger three from Kevin Durant to seal a 118–113 comeback victory. Down 3–0, James and Irving led the Cavaliers over the Warriors to a 137–116 win, including a record-breaking 49 points in the first quarter and a Finals-high 86 points in the first half. Durant and the Warriors looked to finish the series back home in Game 5. Despite early domination from James and Cleveland in Game 5, the Warriors surged ahead in the second half, fending off several late-game Cavaliers rallies, and won the title with a 129–120 victory. It was the team’s second title in three years, and Durant’s first championship and Finals MVP.
2018 NBA FINALS
Let’s just be brutally honest, this series is going to be so disinteresting and incredibly difficult to sit down and watch. The Warriors obviously dominate Cleveland at every position on the floor. A GSW sweep would not shock me, nor would it shock you. This is bad for the NBA. Stacking teams so heavy that they are never truly tested. You can toy around with Golden State, but they are Alabama. They are the Patriots. Always there, and you know they will be there again the next year. Incredibly predictable and has made me, an avid sports fan, disinterested in watching the games. If you’re a betting man like myself, this stuff is glorious for your bank account. Take advantage while you can. Take Golden State in every game vs Cleveland. A sweep is coming!
You want a guarantee? Golden State in 4. Want another guarantee? Tanking NBA Finals ratings. If you’ve seen the movie before, you’re not so interested in watching a second, third or fourth time. Why? Because you’ve seen the ending. The stacking of rosters has made this game painful to watch, but joyful to bet on. So, in the end, while you’re not being entertained, bet some money on it. Take my picks and get rich.