I HAVE said it before and I will say it again: The NBA Finals will again be between the Golden State Warriors and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors’ march to the title showdown this year was all the more enhanced after the Spurs’ top scorer Kawhi Leonard re-injured his barely healed ankle in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Leonard had stepped on the foot of Zaza Pachulia following a jump shot. Foul. Pachulia stuck out his right foot on Leonard’s landing area—an NBA no-no.
As Leonard was 100 percent no more, San Antonio’s 76-55 bulge at 7:55 of the third quarter was nibbled away at will.
Steph Curry took his familiar go-to guy all the way to the fourth quarter and the Warriors won 113-111, preserving Golden State’s home court margin.
The series was ongoing when I wrote this—done in advance as I was due for an out-of-town coverage. And Cleveland’s Eastern Conference Finals’ foe had yet to be known too since the Boston-Washington Game 7 remained unresolved.
That Game 7 was forged on John Wall’s miraculous three-pointer on May 13 that gave Washington a one-point victory. Wall’s was a win-or-go-home shot, the trey try coming yet from someone not known to shoot threes all season long.
I say Boston will prevail in Game 7 but against Cleveland, the Celtics face formidable odds.
For one, Cleveland is 8-0 going to the Eastern Finals. For another, Cleveland’s Terrible Trio of LeBron James, Kyle Iriving and Kevin Love are healthy to the bone.
Golden State is also primed for a Finals return and is aching to avenge its 4-3 loss to Cleveland after blowing away a 3-1 lead last year.
The Warrior-Cav rematch not materializing will be a shocker of gigantic proportions.
It can happen, of course. But to my mind, its chances of happening are both slim and none.
Having said that, my so-called fearless forecast is now up for sale. Any takers?
(My sympathies to the loved ones of my Pareng Mike S. Ramos, who passed away May 14 after a lingering illness. He was a childhood friend, who, many say, was my most bosom buddy. Rest now my friend. Enjoy your vacation.)