The answer is June 1. That’s how much longer we have to wait before finally getting the inevitable NBA Finals match-up between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sure, San Antonio, Houston, Boston and Washington all like their chances to crash the party, but the other four teams still alive in the NBA Playoffs are considerable underdogs. (And really, does anyone outside of those respective markets what those teams to ruin what we’ve all been anxiously awaiting?)
The Spurs lost Tony Parker for the remainder of the playoffs, while the Rockets simply don’t have enough talent to keep pace with the Warriors. The Celtics did finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Wizards have John Wall plus a lot of grit but does anyone really believe either of these teams can beat LeBron James four times?
Yes, the NBA Playoffs have been very predictable. Too predictable, in fact.
But what do you expect when one team has LeBron and the other adds Kevin Durant to a roster that won an NBA record 73 games a year ago. The fallout is that for the first time in league history two teams have started the postseason 8-0. You can make a case for the Cavs and Warriors both being undefeated entering the NBA Finals.
That may seem like a worst case scenario for the league, which hasn’t exactly produced very compelling playoffs up to this point. But if the two best teams in the league give us a memorable series like they did last year a so-so first three rounds of the playoffs will be a distant memory.
“Is it a problem? I don’t think so,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said on Wednesday about a possible Warriors-Cavs Finals. “I think a lot of people wanted to see Boston and the Lakers back in the day. I think nowadays, a lot of people want to see Golden State-Cavs. And it’s not a problem. Right now, it’s two of the teams playing some of the best basketball right now.
“So two of the teams that have been in back-to-back Finals – so, why not? Why not want to see it again?” Lue added. “I don’t see why it would be a problem. I think last year had some of the best ratings, I think, in NBA history. I think now with them adding (Kevin) Durant and the way they’re playing, the way we’re playing, it can be even higher.”
If anything, the Warriors and Cavs dominance this postseason should make the NBA think long and hard about perhaps shortening the regular season and at the very least alter the playoff format by just seeding the teams one through 16, as they’ve done with the WNBA. Conferences be dammed.
The Cavs stumbled to the finish line, losing seven of their last 11 games and essentially giving up on having the best record in the Eastern Conference. Why? It allowed them to rest LeBron, who sat the final two games of the regular season and assuming the conference finals begin on Monday, LeBron will have played eight games over 35 days.
But the Cavs also have the added advantage of playing in a weaker conference. A top seed would have meant Chicago in the first round and Washington in the conference semifinals. No big deal. Instead, the Cavs took out Indiana and Toronto, two comparable teams to the Bulls and Wizards.
And even if the Cavs get the Celtics in the conference finals they won’t have homecourt advantage which may seem like a big deal until you remember that the Cavs went into Oakland last June and won Games 5 & 7. Once you do that, you’re not worried about playing anyone, anywhere.
The Warriors again finished with the best record in the NBA and they’ve steamrolled the competition, sweeping both Portland and Utah. The Warriors, like the Cavs, are making it look easy.
The NHL Playoffs have been unpredictable. The top seeds on both conferences have already been eliminated.
That’s not the case in the NBA where the Warriors and Cavs are heading for a third straight meeting in the Finals.
Very predictable, indeed. And I’ll take it.