It’s not often that TNT blowhard Charles Barkley has something good to say, but when it comes to the NBA postseason, he was spot on the other night.
“Thank God for the NHL playoffs,” Barkley had the nerve to say. “That’s what I would be watching with all these blowouts.”
See, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors have turned the postseason into their own private bash. LeBron James and his supporting cast have won all eight of their games by an average margin of 9.6 points. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and company have been even more drop-head dominant — 8-0 record and downright silly 16.5-points differential.
Is there any doubt that the Cavaliers and Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals for the third time in as many years, as Balls told ya so seven months ago?
If you reside in the Bay Area, such greatness is a very good thing. Make that a great thing. If the Warriors go on to win the NBA title, they will join the 1988-90 49ers and 1972-74 Athletics as the most dominant local team in a three-year period ev-er.
Besides, did anyone around the league feel sorry for the Warriors when went 40 mostly sucky years between victory parades?
This sort of thing is nothing new in the Association, where big names and big markets have dominated from the start. From 1959 to 1969, the Boston Celtics and Minneapolis-Los Angeles Lakers met in seven of 11 NBA Finals. From 1980 to 1989, the Lakers met either the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers or Detroit Pistons eight times in 10 championship series.
The thing is, fans have so many more entertainment options than decades ago. That was obvious in the regular season, when 27 of the 30 teams experienced an average drop of 14 percent in local television ratings. Even some Cavaliers and Warriors fans were bored. Both teams had drop-offs in double digits.
Overall, TNT ratings fell 8 percent, while ESPN’s dipped 5 percent. And unlike the NFL, the Association didn’t have Colin Kaepernick or the Presidential election to blame.
More than ever, the league has to wonder if the utter lack of parity is good for future growth and what it can do about it. But Dubs Nation, it couldn’t care less. Nor should it.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics are two victories away from the Eastern Conference finals, and win or lose, former Sacramento Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro deserves a playoff share at the very least.
The Kings had Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins for three seasons, but they could do no better than 28 wins in any of them. True, Thomas wasn’t as savvy then as he is now. Still, at 24, he did break out in his final season — 20.3 points, 6.3 assists and 34.7 per game — a hint of things to come.
Yet rather than build around his two best young players, D’Alessandro signed Thomas to a four-year, $28 million deal then shipped the fan favorite to the Phoenix Suns for somebody named Alex Oriakhi and a $7 million trade exception. Then the exception was allowed to expire. That’s right — the Kings got zippo out of it.
Oriakhi currently plays in Puerto Rico, while the Kings remain in the Developmental League.
GIANT MESS: How Arctic cold have the Giants been this season? Minus 68. That’s their run differential after a victory in New York on Tuesday, their only one during a six-game roadie.
The Giants are on a season pace to be outscored by 315 runs. To understand the significance of that number, consider that the 1962 Mets were minus 331 in their first season. They’re the most godawful team ev-er in the expansion era.
Wait, it gets worse.
At the start of the day, the Giants ranked dead last in runs scored, home runs and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) among National League teams. And they were next to last in earned run average, opponents batting average and blown saves.
Why, the seagulls are so sick about the whole thing, they can’t eat the leftovers at AT&T Park any more.
General manger Bobby Evans has problems to fix and they are many. First, he may want to find a real, live left fielder, something that should have been addressed in the offseason.
The seven jamokes in the corner spot have combined for a .168 batting average, one home run and 12 RBI. That’s Bad News Bears bad.
It doesn’t make sense to further deplete a barren farm system to acquire a proven outfielder, at least not where the parent club is right now. Mac Williamson waits in the wings, unless you consider 35-year-old retread Justin Ruggiano to be the future.
Oh, and if the front office can figure out a way for Jeff Samardzija to get out left-handers, that would be good, too.
CONNECT THE DOTS: The Giants own the worst record in the majors for the first time since the 1991 season, which they finished in fourth place with a 75-87 record.
The ’91 Giants were two years removed from a World Series appearance just as these Giants are now.
JUST SAYIN’: The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs played a marathon that featured 48 strikeouts and 583 pitches. Yep, if that doesn’t get millennials hooked on baseball, nothin’ will …
Umpire Joe West was stuck behind home plate for six hours, five minutes, further evidence that there is a baseball god …
It’s only a matter of time before the players’ union holds out for a 12-inning limit and tie games.
Some bigwigs want to name a Los Angeles expressway (sic) after Vin Scully, the Dodgers broadcast legend. Then they can add a Best of Vin Scully radio station to listen to while on said expressway.
Strange, but when NBC puckhead Mike Milbury lost his voice on the air the other night, the postgame show was never better.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE … San Jose Sharks?