Minimal buzz surrounding Warriors-Cavs IV

Updated: May 30, 2018

What a difference a year makes.

This time last summer, we were all itching to see the third installment of Golden State versus Cleveland in the NBA Finals. It was to be the rubber match, with Kevin Durant moving from OKC to Oakland and joining the already great Warriors as they looked to avenge the prior year’s collapse/defeat by the hands of LeBron and Kyrie.

There was plenty of juice and bad feelings to go around, with the Cavs thinking that, if not for injuries, they would’ve won in 2015, the Warriors believing they let it slip away in 2016 (thanks to D. Green), and the infamous Cavs team Halloween party of 2016 that managed to pour more gasoline on an already lit fire.

While anticipation was high going in, the 2017 series wasn’t competitive. The contests were blowouts with the exception of Game 3, serving as a coronation of the greatness of both the Warriors as a team and Durant as an individual player. It would’ve been a fitting end to this particular chapter in NBA history, but due to several key injuries (i.e. Kyrie) and the ineptitude of certain teams (i.e. Toronto, Philly) in the Eastern Conference, LeBron was able to once able to navigate the mild waters and make it back to the Finals.

Waiting for him is a Golden State team that has had an interesting run this season to say the least. They are clearly the best team in the NBA when engaged and they decide to flip the switch, but at the same time it is a squad that can be maddeningly sloppy and inconsistent, displaying low energy in the process. Perhaps it’s the wear and tear of  four deep playoff runs in succession or the slog of having to fight through the Western Conference, but, until threatened, they often appear to be just going through the motions.

This year, the Warriors will enter the Finals as overwhelming favorites. With Kyrie having forced his way out of Cleveland, gone with him is the threat that the Cavs could still be a formidable opponent to Golden State. As amazing as LeBron is, the Cavs wouldn’t have completed their historic comeback in 2016 without Irving riding shotgun the entire way.

While Warriors/Cavs will be looked back upon as our generations answer to the Lakers/Celtics of the 1980’s, the competitiveness of the series has gone to a place it can no longer recover for. Presently, the respective talent levels of the rosters leaves one with the conclusion that the real NBA Finals was the series that just concluded out in Houston. Unless massive boredom sets in in Oakland, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where this one goes past five games.

Dynastic runs make any sport more interesting, but given the manner in which Golden State has been able to dismantle LeBron and the Cavs of late, I can only hope that the young superteams emerging in Boston and Philly make enough strides next year to become the Warriors new dance partner in June.