By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter
OAKLAND, CA.-The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are meeting in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in four years, but this year it was different. The Warriors got stronger while the Cavs seemed to be in disarray. Cleveland went through a complete mid-season makeover this winter while Golden State stayed the course.
YOU CAN’T BLAME LEBRON, THE KING.
The Golden State Warriors had a plan. The Cleveland Cavaliers are still searching for that plan and it showed in the 2018 playoffs. This is the difference between the Cavaliers and Warriors. Everybody knows that LeBron James is the offense, the defense, the star, the Alpha and Omega for the Wine and Gold in Cleveland, while every single Golden State Warrior can star in a single game, and this will cost the Cavalier team owner Dan Gilbert, All-Star LeBron James, and Cleveland, again.
Gilbert promised LeBron when he came back to Cleveland that he would put a team on the court that could win the NBA title. Gilbert lied. The NBA gave LeBron James a pass because he alone saved the whole Central Division and did so in 2015 with the influx of ticket revenues. Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics improved, while the Cavs traded the whole store-half of their team left the mid-west city at this year’s trade deadline.
Their 2nd best player went to the Boston Celtics at the start of the 2017-18 season for an injured Isaiah Thomas; Kyrie Irving put on a Boston green uniform and won the Eastern Division. Question how does that improve the wine and gold? It does not!!!!
The organization continued its self-implosion, sending Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers after clearing waivers leaving the Cavaliers with young and inexperienced players at the most important position on the floor, point guard.
They sent veteran guard Dwyane Wade back to Miami so he could retire with the team that drafted him. That left Cleveland with no older mentor on the floor to guide these young men at that position. Cleveland also sent guard Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz, and lastly sent forward-center Joe Johnson and Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings.
In return, The Cavs received Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers, George Hill from the Kings and Rodney Hood from the Jazz. All of these new Cavaliers have little or no playoff experience and they had three months to get ready for this year’s playoff.
DON’T BLAME LEBRON JAMES.
That left Kevin Love-the cowardly lion, J.R. Smith- the scarecrow, and sharpshooter and Saluki Killer Kyle Korver as a collection of tin men in Cavalier uniforms. How do you win with four veterans? How do you win with a rotation of seven players on the floor? The Cleveland Cavaliers got younger and taller but how do you translate this into playoff experience and an NBA Championship? Ask Dan Gilbert.
These are the questions Cleveland fans should be asking the Cavalier administration. They cannot blame the referees for this mess and yes game referees missed some calls in these playoffs on both sides but that happens every game.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Meanwhile in Oakland, head coach Steve Kerr and his staff continued to build a stronger team with each passing week, staying the course, not trading but bringing in new players (i.e., Damian Jones, Patrick McCaw, and Jordan Bell) up in their farm system from the D-League in Santa Cruz. These players knew the system and these players would not be a distraction. This is the way a team should work.
Golden State went through many weeks of injuries to key players and went through many losses late in the season but there was a different attitude on the bench and in the locker room. The younger players learn through experience and teaching from their older mentors. There was a willingness to listen and to ask questions. There was no sign of panic at Oracle Arena.
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson all went down with injuries and the term “NEXT MAN UP” really applied. The Warrior coaching staff had the luxury of going twelve deep something few teams can do. The ability to plug in the tall lanky Javale McGee for Andre or Kevin or for defense substitute space heaters Zaza Pachulia or David West. This is the Warrior way, shades of the Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs, everybody plays.
This cut down the playing time for Warrior starters who did not have to stay on the floor and thus giving those starters rest time to get ready for the season-ending playoffs. The Golden State system works: just ask the Houston Rockets who were burnt out in the 7th game against the Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors grinded out a series ending victory with their shock troops, their bench. In Houston that drained James Harden and the Rockets into submission.
LeBron James now has another decision to make while the men in Gold and Blue on the West Coast continue the Warrior way.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email Glcgray@gmail.com
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