USA Today Images

It’s Over

The NBA Finals might have ended when Game 1 overtime started.

June 04, 2018 - 10:44 am

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, smash you with a hot take, our melt your radio or TV with molten lava… but it looks like the NBA Finals might have ended when Game 1 overtime started. If the Cavs win that game, we’ve got ourselves a series. A legitimate series. But they didn’t. And we don’t. 

And can you really blame them? They played their asses off and their hearts out, only to have them ripped right through their chest at the end of regulation. There was no way they were coming back from that and winning in overtime.

And is there really anyone, anywhere, who thought the Cavs were going to get up off the mat after going into the tank and win Game 2. C’mon! J.R. Smith didn’t even know what the score was with five seconds left. And George Hill missed the potential game winning free throw at the end of the regulation. They were going to bounce back from that, in a bar as hostile as Golden State’s last night?!

After losing Game 1 in the most brutal fashion imaginable. Sure they weren’t. I mean, maybe, maybe, if they hit Golden State with their absolute best shot. And Klay Thompson couldn’t go. And if Kevin Durant had an off night. But Klay is as tough as hell, KD bounced back and then it was just a matter of Golden State picking the score.  And they chose 122-103.

In other words, Cleveland never had a chance. Especially when the legend was in the building for Game 2. I’m talking about a guy who was in his bag. When he gets going and Oracle gets rocking, look the hell out. Because it’s going to be a long night. I am, of course, talking about JaVale McGee. Steve Kerr put him in the starting lineup and he brought it. 6 for 6 from the field. 12 points. And a truckload of energy on both ends of the court. 

If you’re looking for a reason why the Warriors came out of the gate with energy and focus, look no further than the 7-footer from Flint. He found out he’d be starting on Saturday and he wasn’t surprised, “I was honored.” Love that. The dude is true pro. He played a total of 3 minutes in the Western Conference Finals. It would be easy to go in the tank and not be focused after that. But he’s been a difference maker every time he’s stepped on the court on the biggest stage. 

Oh, and Steph Curry had a pretty good game, too. 33 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds. You might have forgotten how good Steph Curry is, but honestly, he’s better than you remember. Like best Finals three-point shooting performance ever good. Every time Cleveland made a run, Curry was there to stop them with one of his Finals-record 9 three pointers. 

“I never woke up and was like, all right, let’s go get nine 3s and get the record. It was more so about playing the game the right way, having good intentions out there on the court and good things happen.”

He may have played with good intentions, but he was a bad man out there. A very bad man. No matter what Cleveland threw at him, he had an answer. Jeff Green? Have some. Larry Nance Jr? Nice try. You too, J. R. Smith. Cedi Osman, you want a piece? No you don’t.  

A suited-up Kendrick Perkins doesn’t want to move his legs at the end of the third quarter and get out of the way of Steph falling into their bench? Bad move, Perk: That’s just more fuel for the fire.

But the shot that will go down in the history books is this one from 29 feet with the shot clock expiring. A shot that went so high, it nearly hit the banners.

That thing went up so high; Curry had nearly backpedalled all the way down the court before it dropped through. And he did it after nearly losing the ball for a second. 

Even Klay Thompson, who’s hit more than his fair share of absurd threes, couldn’t believe that one. "About seven seconds on the clock he just kept going backward, I don't know why, but he just threw it up and I didn't think it had any chance of going in. That was kind of like a dagger shot. It just gave us all the momentum back."

Time and time again. He made it look easy. And that’s the beauty of Curry. Because it’s not easy. Nothing about what he does is easy, but he makes you feel like could go out to your driveway and start draining shots. Until you actually try it, brick three in a row and go inside to ice your shoulder. I’ve done a whole take on the Warriors and I haven’t even mentioned Durant’s 26, 9, and 7. Or Klay’s 20. Or Shaun Livingston going 5 for 5 off the bench. 

That’s how good these guys are and that’s how much trouble Cleveland is in. Again, I don’t want to say this series is over before it’s over, but it’s over.  And it ended when George Hill yipped up at the free throw line and J.R. Smith went braindead at the end of regulation in game 1.  Now it’s just a matter of how long the Warriors want to carry the Cavs and where they want to celebrate their third title in four years; in Cleveland’s house or their own.