It's Golden State-Cleveland In The Finals. Who'd A Thunk It?
With Kimberly Atkins
The Warriors and the Cavaliers meet in the NBA finals for the fourth year in a row. Is this time any different?
Ben Cohen, sports reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@bzcohen)
Ramona Shelburne, senior writer for ESPN.com. (@ramonashelburne)
From The Reading List:
The Wall Street Journal: “The Warriors and Cavs Will Meet Again. Here’s Why This Time Is Different” — “This wasn’t supposed to happen again.
The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers played in the last three NBA Finals and became so familiar with each other that Golden State employees were treated like regulars in Cleveland coffee shops. But after the Warriors destroyed the Cavaliers last year, it seemed unnecessary for them to play again. Unlike the Warriors’ championship in 2015 or the Cavaliers’ title in 2016, one team was very obviously better than the other.
It also seemed unlikely they would play again. The league became obsessed with beating the Warriors, and the Cavaliers were such a hot mess that one of their players threw a bowl of soup at one of their coaches in the middle of the season.
As recently as this weekend, there was a chance for two new teams in the Finals. The Cavaliers were down 3-2. And then LeBron James did things that only LeBron James can do in Game 6 and Game 7. The Warriors were also down 3-2. And then they came back from 17 points in Game 6 and 15 points in Game 7.
So now, despite everything that’s happened in between, with the entire league being turned upside town in a desperate effort to avoid exactly this outcome, the same teams are back in the same place for the same reasons: the Warriors and Cavaliers will play Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.”
ESPN.com: “Why Round 4 of Warriors-Cavs deserves our appreciation” — “It has been in the back of everyone’s mind all season — this feeling that this NBA season would end up right back where the past three have, in Oakland and Cleveland, with the best team of its generation going another round against the best player of his generation.
In some corners, the potential of a fourth NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers inspired dread or boredom. In others, it evoked frustration or anger at the salary-cap spike two years ago that allowed the Warriors to add Kevin Durant.
But after two epic Game 7s over this Memorial Day weekend — during which James delivered 48 minutes of resilient brilliance in Boston and the Warriors rallied back from an 11-point halftime deficit against the Rockets with some gorgeous shot-making and championship poise — another emotion feels more appropriate now.
Redundant as a fourth chapter of Warriors-Cavs might be, it also feels earned this time around.”
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