Tag Archives: NBA Finals

Amazing teams and great teams

The Golden State Warriors won the NBA finals yesterday by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 1. I had a feeling that the Warriors might close the series when it returned back to California so I woke up at 4 in the morning in Turkey to watch the final game.

The Warriors and Cavs faced each other in the NBA finals for each of the past 3 years. The Warriors won in 2015 as their team effort overcame the star effort of LeBron James. The Cavs won in 2016 as the combination of LeBron James’ increased humility and the resulting increase in his teammates’ output was just enough to overcome the Warriors in 7 games.

LeBron James was once again humble and the Cavs played a great team game in this year’s series. Six Cavs scored more than 9 points at least once during the series. Although not as good as last year’s performance where six Cavs scored more than 10 points at least once during the series, it was pretty close.

The difference wasn’t in the Cavs’ performance but in that of the Warriors. Specifically, Kevin Durant joined the Warriors this year and immediately gelled with the team. Kevin Durant isn’t LeBron James but he’s pretty close. And that turned a great Warriors team into an amazing Warriors team.

In 2015, the great Warriors team beat the best player in the world.

In 2016, the great Cavs team led by the best player in the world beat the great Warriors team.

In 2017, the amazing Warriors team beat the great Cavs team led by the best player in the world.

Congratulations to the Warriors.

This year’s NBA finals

Last year, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 2.

In a post about last year’s finals, I wrote that although the Cavaliers’ LeBron James is the best player in the world, his individual performance wasn’t enough to overcome the Warriors’ collective performance. Specifically, I wrote that “… nine different Warriors [scored] in double digits at least once during the series …”

This year, the Cavaliers won the same match up 4 games to 3 after falling behind 3 games to 1. And a big part of the reason why is because two things changed. And these things are related to each other.

First, LeBron James was more humble. Although the Cavaliers fell behind 3 games to 1, giving the Warriors 3 chances to close out the┬áseries, LeBron James didn’t respond by stating that he’s the best player in the world. This time, he recognized that for Cleveland to win, he needs his teammates. This was reflected in the second change whereby six Cavs scored in double digits at least once during the series.

While that’s not quite as impressive as the nine Warriors who showed the same performance in last year’s finals, basketball is played with five players. So six players, including the best player in the world, playing well was just enough.

Despite their improved team play, the Cavs still could have come up short. The final game of the series was tied at 89 with 1 minute and 40 seconds remaining, and Andre Iguodala of the Warriors seemed to be headed for an easy layup when LeBron James came, seemingly out of nowhere, to block the shot. The Cavs went on to win 93-89.

So having the best player in the world on a great team helps. Here’s the block to recognize that.