The long, drawn out formality known as the NBA Playoffs is mercifully over. (Don’t act like they were intriguing this year. Outside of Bucks versus Raptors, playoff basketball was a sleeping pill.) Pundits and fans predicted the NBA Finals matchup before training camps even began. We were all steadfast on our beliefs of “The Trilogy.” This is even before Kevin Durant signed with Golden State in the offseason. The seven game epic of last season’s Finals had people salivating for another one. Durant purely provided an inevitable seasoning. The meal has been plated and will begin delivering June 1st. We’ve got the trilogy, now what?
For me, this series is going to come down to two X factors; Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In one and a quarter series of NBA Finals play, the Warriors still have not found an answer for Kyrie. He has absolutely torched them. The Warriors are one of the better defensive teams in the association, so it not’s like Kyrie is doing this versus a defensive sieve and it’s amazing to watch. (Do I need to remind you of the “The Shot” that clinched the NBA Championship for the Cavs last season?) I look for this to continue. No answer for two years, one player doesn’t change this.
The insertion of Kevin Durant in this epic is intriguing. You’re talking a former MVP and multi-time scoring champion, who’s upped his defensive game and enjoys the system he plays in now. Question here is; Who guards him? Also, will they be successful? I look for a combination of Tristan Thompson and LeBron James on KD. Kevin Love has improved a tiny bit on defense, but he doesn’t have the size or speed to keep up with Durant. Thompson is an elite defender with foot speed. Maybe not enough to constantly hold KD on the perimeter, but enough to win a few battles. We all know what kind of defender LeBron is. His physicality can make life difficult for Durant. Will it be enough to win the series and a second straight NBA Championship?
At this point in a blog or article, the writer will give their prediction on who wins. I’m not going to do that. I want people to just enjoy it. Yes I understand the fan bases of the Warriors and Cavs have their own rooting interest. As they should. For the rest of us, just think about this; In many of our lifetimes, we’ve never seen two teams meet in three straight finals, with the collection of former and present all-stars, with the amount of potential hall of famers, on the court meeting and exceeding the hype of the championship matchup. This is something to be thankful for.
The regular season didn’t offer much intrigue, nor did the majority of the postseason. The NBA has a shot at grand redemption if this Finals matchup delivers another epic series. We’ve got the trilogy, let’s hope for the epic.