The king is dead, long live the king.
Editor’s Note: A special edition of the Monday Morning Lineup today. 5 thoughts on the Cavs dramatic Game 7 win over the Warriors
1. The King is dead
The Warriors and the New England Patriots will now be forever linked, as teams with the best regular season resume of all time, but without the corresponding hardware.
The most noticeable part of the series, obviously, was Curry’s uneven play. The hot take machine will certainly come up with all kinds of reasons and consequences after going through two NBA Finals series without a dominant performance.
I’m not sure exactly what to say about his play. He certainly hasn’t been bad for most of the series, but there’s a noticeable drop-off from his incredible play in the regular season. And he was bad when it mattered most, during the fourth quarter on Sunday night.
I won’t go so far as to say that Steph “can’t get it done,” but eventually, that’s going to become a tough criticism to shake.
2. Long live the King
What the hell do we do with LeBron now?
Full disclosure: I realized over the past few weeks or so that I’ve turned into a full-fledged LeBron hater. The guy drives me absolutely nuts. The crying on the ground and his interview with Doris Burke were painful to watch.
But at the same time, I honestly think he’s the best player in the NBA, even still. Curry is incredible and perhaps the best pure scorer the league has ever seen. He has the potential to go off and put on an absolute display on any night.
But LeBron is the best player in the world, still in 2016. He’s so strong and does such a wide range of things well. The athleticism he showed on some of those blocks was out of this world. He can score in so many different ways, he can assist with ease, and he’s usually the best defender on the floor.
I thought he was deserving of the MVP award and he’ll be deserving of a fair amount of the praise being directed his way in the coming days and weeks. But I’m not going to enjoy watching it all.
3. God loves Cleveland
The good people of Cleveland finally got their championship, and it seems like they had a good time celebrating it:
While it’s obviously great to see that city finally get a title, it always feels a little bittersweet when a team puts a curse to bed. We won’t get to make fun of Cleveland as much anymore, and we’re all worse off for that, I think.
4. Kevin and Kyrie
While LeBron deserved to win the MVP, it was Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love who helped power them to the Game 7 win. Kyrie was all but unstoppable in the third quarter, and Love had a big night, even contributing on defense, where he’s earned some scorn over the years.
I would have to think that this means Kevin Love stays with Cleveland for the foreseeable future, and it was great to see him finally be vindicated in some way. He certainly hasn’t been the peak offensive force many (including myself) thought he might be in Cleveland. But he’s still a meaningful part of that team, and the delight on his face when the Cavs finally had the game in their hands was great to see.
5. Ending on a high note
Regardless of who you were or weren’t rooting for during last night’s game, holy shit was that a treat. While the series has obviously been dramatic, we had yet to have a game that was a truly great watch.
That changed dramatically Sunday night. Simply put, was a classic. The Warriors built a lead in the first half, but Cleveland was able to claw back, then take a lead, and finally snatch the victory away at the last second.
These teams seem to have a real rivalry, getting under each others’ skin at different points throughout the series. We had the Draymond suspension, some pushing and shoving in Game 7, and it really added to the drama of the series.It’s the best rivalry the NBA has seen in a while, and it’s exactly what the league needs.
Here’s hoping we get a few more great battles going forward.