Whether the majority wants it or not, we’re getting Round 4 of Golden State versus Cleveland in the NBA Finals. However, that’s not really the fault of the players. Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson would say as much yesterday. But they sure aren’t the only ones. LeBron James, per ESPN’s Chris Haynes, doesn’t see the problem with it either. In fact, he goes one step further in dismissing the criticism of many.
“Teams have had their opportunities to beat the Cavs over the last four years, and teams have had the opportunities to beat the Warriors over the last four years,” LeBron says. “If you want to see somebody else in the postseason, then you got to beat them. Or in the Finals, in that case.”
He’s not wrong, of course. Teams have had their chances. The Indiana Pacers took LeBron and the Cavs to seven games in Round 1. The Toronto Raptors won a franchise-best 59 games before folding like a deck of cards against the king in Round 2. Then there’s the Boston Celtics, who without both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were able to push their own series with James to seven games. But at the end of the day, none of those teams could get the job done. LeBron was and remains just too good.
The Warriors, however, are a fairly different story. The Western Conference is more competitive than the Eastern Conference all the way through, but that doesn’t matter with this Golden State team. After LeBron and company stole a championship from them a couple of years ago, they felt the need to add another — a fourth — star. That star, of course, is Kevin Durant. Now, the Houston Rockets are the only team that, as constructed, can take down the Warriors. But they need everyone to be healthy to do so, and without Chris Paul they weren’t able to close things out in Game 6 or 7. But against James and the Cavaliers, it’s a whole different story.
LeBron is the best player on the court in this series, but that’s not enough to take out the Warriors. They current Golden State team is the super-team to end all super-teams. But it’s not their fault Chris Paul hurt his hamstring near the end of Game 5. It’s also not their fault that the Rockets went ice cold from three-point range when it mattered most. And it’s not LeBron’s or Cleveland’s fault that nobody in the East could knock off a weakened Cavs team. That’s why Round 4 is happening.
Whether we like it or not.