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Cleveland vs. Golden State: Part IV Preview

The 2018 NBA Finals are set to kick off tonight with part IV of the new age Cavaliers vs. Warriors rivalry.  For Celtics fans, the wounds from the loss in the Eastern Conference Finals are still fresh, but as we move forward the question remains: is a matchup between the Warriors and the Cavaliers for the 4th year in a row what is best for the NBA?

It is easy to say that the fact these two teams have met in the finals so often is because they are the NBA’s best and are a great epitome of the talent the league is putting forth. A quick comparison of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will tell all the difference. On the one hand, the Celtics vs. Cavaliers series was a grueling 7 games, consumed by poor play, fatigue, and quitting on the road. The Houston vs. Warriors series however was thrilling from start to finish. With both teams getting out to early leads, and the other team eventually coming back.

In fact, this year’s NBA finals is perhaps the worst of the previous finals meetings between the two teams. On the one hand, the Warriors return a large majority of the same players from last year’s meeting, but come in with a big question mark in the name of Andre Iguodala, who missed the final four games of the series with the Rockets due to a leg injury. His status is currently unknown for game one, but admittedly in doubt. On the other end of the spectrum, the Cavaliers return with a completely different team from last year. Yes, Lebron is still there and still the best player on the planet, but beyond that, he returns to the finals with the worst cast of characters he’s had since 2007.

The stories are all there in this series: Can the Warriors win again? Can the Lebrons pull off an upset? Will this be his final games in a Cleveland uniform? But aren’t they all tired! This series is really the same ol same ol as it relates to the NBA. Isn’t it time for something new? This is why young up and coming teams like the Celtics, like the Sixers, and to an extent the Lakers make the future of the NBA bright. There is hope that these teams with their young talent and flexible spending will be able to dethrone the Warriors. 

What it really comes down to however is, ironically, fatigue. The collective “we”, especially in Boston, are tired of Lebron. We are tired of the staged book reading, the end of the world leg non-injury, and the Antics. It’s part of what makes him such a difficult player to like. That being said, I am rooting for him in the series. As tired as I am with Lebron, I am equally if not more tired of the super team problem in the NBA and would love nothing more than to see Lebron James with a cast of misfits go into the bay area and get incredibly hyphy on the Warriors. 

The only story in this series that carries weight is the Cavaliers winning. If Cleveland wins, it’s embarrassing for the Warriors and could derail their super team. But more importantly, it rewrites the narrative for Lebron James. He has already earned the respect of this writer by not folding in the Celtics series. There were several moments in the seven game series that Lebron could have quit, packed it up, and moved on the LA or Philly or wherever he ends up, and no one would have blamed him. He would have the supporting cast around him to fall back on as an excuse, and the mercenary would find a new team. But if he were to dethrone the Warriors, with the likes of JR Smith, George Hill, and Jeff Green? Then we can start taking the Jordan v. Lebron debate a little more serious. 

For the fourth time NBA fans worldwide will be overdosing on Cavs vs. Warriors like the glutton in the movie Seven, and for the first time in forever I find myself rooting for Lebron. I am watching, and I want him to win for the sake of the NBA. For a return to normalcy. So we can have a tiny remembrance of what used to be in the 90s before super teams were all the rage. At least then, we can say as Celtics fans, that they lost to the team who won it all that year. That will ease the pain. Cleveland in 7.

What are your predictions for the series? Let me know on twitter @MitchyBSoT @BostonSportsTap

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