With game one of the hyped-up NBA Finals matchup of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers tipping off tonight, there have been many questions surrounding what there is to lose and gain for both teams. LeBron is entering his seventh consecutive NBA Finals, and this is the third straight year that the Warriors and Cavs have gone up against each other. Whether people like it or not, we are witnessing history. People that aren’t even basketball fans will tune in to watch the Finals. That’s how big this matchup is. The Warriors won the first matchup and the Cavs the second, but this one is the biggest one yet. The story going into the Finals is as good as it gets. The Warriors won it against an injury-prone Cavs back in 2015. The next year the 73-9 Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and LeBron reclaimed his trophy. Now in 2017, LeBron and company have to deal with the addition of Kevin Durant, who joined the Warriors in hopes of dethroning LeBron and being in the position he is in right now. The story couldn’t be any better.
LeBron’s current record in the NBA Finals in 3-4. A Finals victory here would give him a .500 record in the Finals. He’s faced teams like the ’07, ’13, and ’14 Spurs, ’11 Dallas Mavericks, ’12 OKC Thunder, and ’15 and ’16 Golden State Warriors. Out of all those matchups, none of them are as big as this. If LeBron wins this Finals, this would be his greatest Finals victory to date. He had an incredible regular season and spectacular postseason. All eyes will be on him to carry his team to their second consecutive title this year. LeBron will have some trouble, though. This monster of a team he’s going up against may be one of the greatest teams ever assembled. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green will be a tough group of four superstars to stop. Yes, LeBron has Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but they’ll have to step up big time if they want to beat the Warriors.
If LeBron wins, this will be his greatest finals victory to date, but will also help his case tremendously in the LeBron/Jordan G.O.A.T. argument. Coming back from a 3-1 deficit then beating this superteam the year after would look superb on his resume. But what if LeBron and the Cavs don’t win this series? What’ll people say about LeBron and his legacy? You may hear some analysts say how LeBron couldn’t lead his team to victory or how he wasn’t good enough to get the job done. Analysts and journalists will look at this season simply as a success or a failure for LeBron. They won’t talk about his career-high numbers in the regular season or the even more ridiculous numbers he put up while going 12-1 in the postseason. They’ll critique LeBron for not being able to beat this superteam with his own superteam. This is what should be said if the Cavs don’t win the Finals: LeBron has gone to seven straight NBA Finals. LeBron has gone to the Finals eight times in his career so far. Sure he’ll be 3-5 in the Finals, but the dominance he shows on the road to the Finals should overshadow his Finals record. Nobody should expect LeBron to have an easy victory over this team. This team is damn near unbeatable. If LeBron loses, they need to cut him some slack and realize what he had to go up against. You have to understand that Kevin Durant joined the Warriors to take down LeBron because this matchup was bound to happen again from the start. If LeBron can’t get the job done, you can’t say he wasn’t good enough. You say that he went up against an unbeatable team and he did all that he could possibly do.
Now let’s talk about what happens to Kevin Durant in the Finals. If the Warriors win Kevin Durant will finally get a ring. His “sacrifice” of leaving OKC to win a ring in Golden State will pay off. Some people that still hate KD will say he needed to join a superteam to win it all, but at the end of the day he’ll just sit back, laugh, and show off his ring. But that’s if the Warriors do win. If the Warriors don’t win, Kevin Durant will be ripped to shreds by fans. He left OKC to ring chase and still couldn’t beat LeBron and company. One of the greatest teams ever assembled still couldn’t beat one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Kevin Durant will say he still doesn’t regret joining the Warriors, which is the right thing to say, but on the inside, it’ll be killing him. He got so much hate and got hammered on when he joined the Warriors, so the fact that they couldn’t win is a bad look for him. The Warriors sacrificed so much to get KD on their team, and they still couldn’t beat LeBron. This would make LeBron look unstoppable, and the Jordan/LeBron argument would be talked about so much that analysts will be running out of things to say (I’m surprised they haven’t already). The point is, forming a superteam and losing to the Cavaliers is a far worse look than losing to the superteam that the Warriors built. KD and the Warriors will get critiqued a lot harder for losing than LeBron and the Cavs would for losing, or at least that’s how it should be.
At the end of the day, LeBron will still get hate for not winning it all again if they lose. Although so much shouldn’t be expected of him, that’s how it’ll be. That’s what happens when you’re one of the greatest to ever do it. They critique everything that you do. I believe the Cavaliers can and will beat the Warriors. I don’t think people are giving the Cavaliers enough credit. They are the defending champs. LeBron James is still the greatest player on this planet, and Kyrie Irving is one of the most clutch players in the world. The Cavaliers aren’t underdogs. Remember the last time the Cavs were doubted in the NBA Finals? They came back from a 3-1 deficit and won the first championship in Cleveland Cavaliers’ history. I’m not counting the Cavs out and neither should you. You should be cheering for LeBron and company. I’d much rather live in a world where LeBron wins his fourth NBA title than a world where KD gets a ring after “sacrificing” so much to join the Warriors.
Cavs in 6. It’s time for LeBron James to prove why he’s the second greatest player of all time reaching for first. A victory here would bring him one step closer to being the G.O.A.T., but a loss shouldn’t bring him back much. A loss for KD would drop him to 0-2 in the Finals and question whether he can ever get the job done. We will get those answers soon, but it all starts tonight. Cavaliers vs. Warriors III shouldn’t disappoint and should be talked about for many, many years ahead of us.