by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s gotta be the shoes?
With apologies to Michael Jordan, Mars Blackmon and in-your-face advertising campaigns for overpriced sneakers the last 25 years and change, it really doesn’t.
No, gotta chalk this one up to the unis.
Seriously, how else can Monday night’s series-extending effort by LeBron James and the rest of those reputed softies from Cleveland in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals be explained?
You know, outside of defending champ Golden State being crippled by the absence of suspended third wheel Draymond Green and his groin-attacking talents. Just like the Cavaliers were when a concussed Kevin Love missed Game 3 and they … whoops, wait a minute. Never mind.
Not for nothing, but those short-sleeved, all-black getups with menacing maroon and yellow markings worn by the visitors to Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., were befitting a serious stay of execution … not the funeral most had predicted.
In short, the Cavs looked bad ass, and, even better, played bad ass. Especially James and Kyrie Irving, who teamed up to become the first duo in NBA history to score 40 points in the same finals game. Both ripped off 41, and at least on this night, ripped out the hearts of the Warriors.
Frankly, this was an old-school, stick-it-up-your-keister beatdown. Not so much flashy as imposing and intimidating – with James and Co.’s performance pretty much mirroring its attire. Even the Cavs’ attitude fell in line, so much so that the Chosen One had a few, “for all the world to see” choice words for Love when the latter came toward him midway through the first quarter, motioning that he had his hands up on defense.
But with Cleveland down 19-13 at that point, James would have none of that.
After that brief, umm, statement, the Cavs outscored Golden State by 21 the rest of the way.
Make no mistake, the Warriors are no joke – as if winning it all last year and then setting a regular-season record for victories this year hadn’t confirmed that already. So, they didn’t exactly roll over in the face of a fired-up James, an on-fire Irving and those smokin’ hot alternate togs.
But that only added to the sheer will and not-to-be-denied determination displayed by the Cavs. Up just 93-87 after Steph Curry buried a 3-pointer for the hosts to start the fourth quarter, they were in prime position to fold. Especially with the Warriors having proven to be masters of the comeback in their previous series against Oklahoma City.
Irving, though, responded quickly to the reigning MVP’s salvo en route to a 12-point period that also was highlighted by some lockdown D by Cleveland. Put it this way, you may never again see the Warriors look so futile, or even nonexistent, for such an extended period. They were held to one point in the final 6:39.
Meanwhile, the Cavs continued to flex their muscles, looking bad ass in those bad ass unis, until a Game 6 in Cleveland Thursday night was secured.
It’s never gonna make sense to me because the brain waves here, when it comes to sports at least, work on a logical, not emotional, plane.
How the belief of many could be so askew, so off, so insane is positively mind-boggling.
Team championships define an individual athlete’s greatness, huh?
OK, then every damn one of you Michael Jordan worshippers needs to shut the eff up and deal with this – your beloved Airness falls five titles shy of Bill Russell.
Case closed. MJ ain’t the best ever. There you have it.
Hell, he ain’t even in the top five since four of Russell’s teammates top Jordan’s six crowns, too.
That’s absolutely silly, of course, and the same num-nuts who profess their insight and genius in rationalizing Jordan’s perch atop all by the team championships crap might wanna focus on what he actually did, not his team. Trust me, there is more than enough evidence to make your case without relying on something that lacks actual substance.
Scoring, shooting, defending, it’s all there to back you up.
But it’s never gonna be clear cut to the masses. Maybe the majority, but not everyone. You’re gonna have Wilt supporters, Kobe supporters, Magic supporters (how, no idea, but we forge ahead regardless), even LeBron supporters.
So, relax, when something pops up that puts a chink in your guy’s impenetrable armor, even such an arbitrary stat as LeBron now holding the highest all-time scoring mark in NBA playoff elimination games. It’s bound to happen.
Heck, he already has his doors blown off in that team championships category anyway.