Sunday, May 21, 2017

Teams on a Collision Course

Cleveland CavaliersGolden State Warriors

We are one round away from the NBA Finals.  Throughout the playoffs, fans and commentators alike have been talking about the inevitability of a rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.  The other teams in the playoffs have disagreed, but none have been able, so far, to prevent this rematch from happening.  As of today, the Golden State Warriors are 11-0 in the playoffs and one game away from a 3rd straight trip to the Finals.  In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 10-0 in the playoffs and will play Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight.  They are two games away from their 3rd straight appearance in the NBA Finals. 

As you can see, both Cleveland and Golden State swept the first two rounds of their respective playoff series.  To be fair, each team was tested and there were some very close games resulting in their victories.  However, their ability to recover from deficits (25 points for Cleveland against Indiana, 25 points for Golden State against San Antonio) to win games is extremely deflating to their opponents.  Not to mention games in which they simply dominate their opponents (Cleveland’s 44-point victory over Boston, Golden State’s 36-point victory over San Antonio).  The inability of other teams to sustain big leads and come away with a victory has made it seem impossible to beat Cleveland and Golden State.

That's why a rematch seems like a foregone conclusion. These teams are rolling through the early rounds of the playoffs because they want to play each other again.  They are watching each other’s games to look for signs of weakness.  Each team has proven that they can beat the other in the Finals (Golden State, 2015; Cleveland, 2016) and they want an opportunity to break the tie.  The media has been playing up this rivalry since the beginning of the season.  As a basketball fan, I have been hoping for this.  Rivalry games are the best and the quality of play will be phenomenal.  At this pace, we will probably know in the next couple of days if we are in for Round 3, winner-takes-all, Golden State vs. Cleveland in the NBA Finals.  The NBA Finals begin June 1st.  Will you be watching?

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