Charles Barkley, NBA television broadcaster, has been adamant that the NHL Playoffs have been more entertaining than the NBA Playoffs. At Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Nashville, he said “I’m just glad to be here because the NBA playoffs have not been great, but the Stanley Cup playoffs have been amazing.”
Barkley saying the NBA playoffs have been uninteresting is no surprise to NBA fans, including myself. The games have been boring. The series have been boring.
Without even watching a game, you can tell these playoffs have been bad. The Warriors haven’t lost a game yet—and improved to 15–0 in the playoffs and 3–0 in the finals with a comeback win last night against Cleveland. The Cavs only lost one game leading up to the finals. Other series might have been at least a little competitive, but everyone watching knew that the Finals would end up being a rematch of the past two years. That’s the issue. No matter what goes on, games are predictable.
This postseason, there have been two only two seven-game series (out of 14) and just three games have gone to overtime. The most interesting series was the Celtics-Wizards, a second-round Eastern Conference matchup. It went to seven games, including one that went to OT. The play was physical, there was bad blood between two players named Kelly, and the games were close, at least.
I mean, Isaiah Thomas lost a tooth in Game 1. What more could you want?
That's the bare minimum for an interesting series this year. Physical play and a rivalry. It’s the only series I’ve enjoyed this postseason. And don’t even get me started on the Finals.
Yes, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are an incredible matchup. So are Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. Everything else is terrible. I’ve watched these teams compete for three years, and the Cavaliers are no match to the Warriors. I strongly believe that if Draymond Green hadn’t gotten suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Golden State would have won the title there and then. It was a loss of momentum and heart that cost them the championship.
This year, it’s no different. Golden State’s defense has overpowered the Cavs’ offense. Games 1 and 2 were Warrior blowout wins, where the margin of victory were 21- and 19-point wins—and that was after Cleveland had six days of rest to prepare for the Finals.
That’s nearly a week that Tyronn Lue’s team had to get ready for the first two games (or maybe just to face the fact that they would lose both of them).
The Cavs suffered a monumental collapse last night in Game 3. They had a six-point lead with 5:29 to go, and then Kevin Durant happened. Yes, it was an exciting game, and yes, there was a thought that maybe the Cavs might win it and there would be some more good basketball in the remainder of the series.
But now it’s 3–0, and no team has come back from such a deficit. The Cavaliers don’t have the same energy or depth as the Warriors. A sweep in these Finals wouldn’t be surprising at all.
So maybe NBA fans should just take the words of Kevin Durant more seriously. Durant said earlier this postseason “Fans want to see a buzzer-beater every game. It’s not like that sometimes. … If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”
If it were that easy, Kevin, I would’ve stopped watching a long time ago.
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