Nothing matters but Cavs-Warriors

Play it again already: Golden State’s Steph Curry pesters Cleveland’s LeBron James during one of their many NBA Finals moments. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Set your alarms for June 1. That’s when the NBA Finals are scheduled to begin, and professional basketball begins again. In the meantime, get your sleep.

It was Kevin Durant, the wise man who decided to join the Golden State Warriors since it was proving just too difficult to beat them, who recently offered some similarly sage advice to NBA viewers.

“If you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” he said following the latest exhibition passing itself off as a conference final.

Those could be the most useful words uttered since these playoffs began, back when, I believe, I still had all my hair.

Thus, you have the permission of an architect of this most lopsided of postseasons to turn a blind eye to the NBA until the Warriors and Cleveland have run through all the crepe paper in the league and are finally forced into sharing a gym.

Here’s one vote for taking Durant up on his suggestion. Ideally, you already have been losing interest, unless you get a kick from watching games that are as predictable as an old Jacques Pepin cooking show (spoiler alert: The sauce always comes out perfect).

Is there a game tonight? No, there’s no game. It’s just the Cavs-Celtics.

UPDATED: Of course, Boston would win Sunday night, just to ruin the sweep symmetry. Sports is such a messy business. Nevertheless, let’s call that an aberration and keep our sights on Cleveland-Golden State Part III.

With the Warriors and Cavs sweeping through each series – and as their opponents have been conveniently taken out by Zaza Pachulia or other disasters – the last five weeks of these NBA playoffs have taken on a heightened meaninglessness.

And, in a way, if you want to look farther back, the playoffs have underscored how meaningless the entire NBA season was. Nothing mattered, really. So what if the Cavs rested their stars and lost out on the No. 1 seed? So what if Durant missed significant time with a knee injury and Steve Kerr is not on the Warriors bench? Minor details, all.

That holds on a local level, too. Did it matter whether Dwight Howard Experience worked or not? Trade Paul Millsap or not, what was the difference? We all knew how this was going to end, regardless.

There is a predictability about the NBA that is a bit numbing. This nugget was lifted from USA Today: In the 33 seasons since 1984, the NBA has paraded out only 10 different champions, while the NFL has had 16 and Major League Baseball 19. (They made me look up the NHL myself – hockey’s had 15 different champs over that period. Ah, hockey, remember that sport, where every playoff game is a passion play?)

This will be, however, the only time in NBA history in which the same two teams have met in three consecutive Finals. It will be the rubber match of unique proportions given the dynastic nature of pro basketball.

Those who claim to know tell us that this installment of the Cavs-Warriors trilogy will be something extraordinary. It certainly figures to be the only matchup possible in which one team is capable of hanging with the other – and that marks it as special in the current landscape.

It had better be something colossal, something our children will be telling their grandchildren about one day, because the wait to get to this foregone conclusion has been interminable. Nothing less than a masterpiece will do.

Reader Comments 0


You get the easy assignments Hummer.  I'll bet their wont be 15 people in the whole state that read this.  No proofreading required on your part.


Steve, you've always been my favorite AJC sports columnist, but this piece feels like you phoned it in.  I don't disagree that the season-long narrative has been the inevitable "rubber match" between the Cavs & Dubs, but that's no excuse for  not even mentioning the 61-win Spurs (to GSW's 67) who, while admittedly up against a monster team, were leading by 23 going into the 4th of G1 in the Western Conference Finals, on the road, when NBA MVP  finalist Kawhi Leonard was cheap-shotted by former Atlanta Hawk Zaza Pachulia, ultimately ending his brilliant season, and (with Tony Parker already lost), in all likelihood, the Spurs' run.

Your column places you squarely in the Kool-Aid guzzling big media camp, much to my disappointment. Your normally insightful, fair-minded craftsmanship of the past was nowhere to be found here.

Rather, you chose to dismiss, by omission, a team/franchise that unlike any other in professional sport, has made it to the post-season 20 straight times, having won 60% of their games during those seasons. Imagine any Atlanta team with that kind of excellence (you can start with the '91-'05 Braves, and yes, even toss in the underachieving Hawks who've made it to the Second Season half as many times consecutively as S.A.), then, really think about the accomplishment.  

When you, Schultz, Bradley, even Vivlamore play the "What have you done for me lately?" card, I suggest you miss the point: Aside from focusing on what Coach Pop calls "the name game," i.e. individual performance as the meritorious metric, consider what a team's primary objective is every year - yep, to make the playoffs, thereby extending the spectacle (which, again, none of you guys make much of an effort to observe - These guys ARE REALLY GOOD!), and with it, THE HOPE that a championship is within reach.  

As a devoted fan of the Silver & Black for nearly a quarter century (I also pull for my hometown Birds in the Leastern Conference), it really irks me when gifted scribes such as yourself don't make that little extra effort to tell a fuller story.  

So, one last thing: you snootily self-answered the question "Is there a game tonight?"  To which I say, actually there is, and if you think the Spurs have already begun packing their fishing gear, that there's "nothing to see (t)here," so be it.  Rest contentedly in the snarkiness that indifference induces, but know this: class acts deserve mention.


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