OAKLAND — It’s all yours, America: Warriors-Cavaliers III, The Trilogy, the inevitability. You don’t like it? Tough beans. Too late.
You should have kept Kawhi Leonard healthy (although that wouldn’t have made a difference), Kept Isaiah Thomas healthy (although that wouldn’t have made a difference, either).Or kept Kevin Durant in Oklahoma and LeBron James out of Cleveland.
These complaints, that the Dubs and Cavs are too dominant, boring, bad for the NBA, bad for basketball, bad for sport. Oh? That’s not what anyone’s saying in Oakland or San Francisco or San Jose. Or Cleveland or Akron.
Why didn’t anyone gripe when the Celtics were in finals 10 straight years? And played the Lakers four times in five years? Of course. Those were historic franchises, famous, the parquet floor, Jack Nicholson courtside, acceptable, appreciated.
Strange isn’t it that in individual sports, golf and tennis, fans want to see the best keep winning; they supported Arnie, Jack, Tiger, Agassi, Serena, Venus, Federer, Nadal. If those people won, as expected, everything was right with the world. But if the Warriors and Cavs win, it’s all wrong.
To that I say watch lacrosse.
The Warriors not so very long ago missed even qualifying for the playoffs 17 years out of 18. Then Joe Lacob and Bob Myers took over. Then Steph Curry and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson took over. Cleveland went, what 52 years without a championship until the Cavs in 2016. Indeed, apologies are due from both franchises.
It’s been like one of those sci-fi movies where the asteroid has been hurtling toward earth, in this case since November, when the “we told you so” regular NBA season started. Here comes the collision. Hide your eyes. Hey, sweetheart, give me rewrite.
The Warriors sign Kevin Durant? Unfair, right, if you live south of Soledad or east of Tioga Pass. You’ve heard this before children, but so is life. Besides, the Warriors and Cavaliers had to work for this, the Cavs more so because they didn’t have the best record in the Eastern Conference, proving, what I’m not sure.
Maybe we look at the finals this way: three NBA Most Valuable Players (LeBron four times, Curry twice, Durant once. The past two championship teams. Stars such as Kyrie Irving and Andre Iguodala.) Not a bad menu, unless you’re down in L.A. or back in N.Y. thinking of the way it used to be.
What I like is what Gregg Popovich said after the Spurs were swept by the Dubs, to wit: “This is maybe the best defensive team in the league, on top of everything. So they don’t just play with talent. They execute at the defensive end of the floor. On offense, no team is more unselfish. Finding the open man and that sort of thing. And they get credit for that. Coaches are always trying to get their team to do that, but they have a multitude of people who are unselfish in that regard and play a beautiful game.”
Beautiful. An appropriate and descriptive word. We’ve heard it said about soccer but rarely about basketball. The Warriors execute. As do the Cavs. As Curry a bit defensively reminded about the Dubs defense and offense — and reputation.
When told the Warriors won because of whom they have not what they have, Curry responded, “It’s almost kind of disrespectful to us to say that. Every night was hard, a challenge. We’ve been working hard all year long. We’ve got to be proud of what we accomplished.”
Even if much of America is not.
Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.