: a victory obtained only at great or ruinous cost to the victor — compare pyrrhic victory.”
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
so all it takes for CLE to win at GSW is for kyrie & lebron to go atomic and steph & klay to be mediocre & draymond green to be suspended
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) June 14, 2016
Yes, all it took was one measly nut punch:
… or three…
And, I guess, a Wrestlemania style take-down…
But mostly, it was that first low blow; with that groin shot, the course of NBA history was changed forever.
Wait, no, actually, the Warriors are still going to win. Let’s take a couple of steps back from the ledge….
LeBron and Kyrie went off in historical fashion: 41 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists for James, and 41 points for Kyrie. Together, they accounted for 73.2 percent of the Cavs’ points. In all, they scored converted 33-54 shots, hitting anything they put up, no matter the difficulty. It was the first time in NBA Finals history that two teammates scored 40 points in the same game.
It was a once in a lifetime performance for the duo. Emphasis on once in a lifetime.
It was no coincidence that 2-time DPOY runner-up and 1st team All-NBA super-star Draymond green sat 200 yards away in a nearby stadium, made (ironically) impotent by his repeated genital attacks. Draymond represented the Warriors last line of defense. When Green was on the court and LeBron made it past Iggy’s perimeter defense, Draymond was waiting for him. If Kyrie shaked and baked his way past Klay, Green was ready to rotate and contest. Without Draymond, Harrison Barnes played center in the famed Golden State small-ball line-ups: it’s no easy task stopping LeBron and Kyrie, and Harrison just wasn’t up to it. When he did manage to stop the duo from scoring, he often gave up the rebound to his man, Tristan Thompson, who managed to grab 16 rebounds in the fray. On the other side of the court, Barnes made 2-14 shots. It was not a max-contract worthy performance.
“Where was Bogut?” you might ask. He was In the Warriors’ locker-room, being tended to by their training staff. After Thompson fell on his leg. Unable to return to the game, the Warriors’ most effective pure big man was Anderson Varajao.
Despite this handicap, and more, the Warriors were within 6 points with 6 minutes and 39 seconds left in the 4th quarter. In fact, it looked like the defending champs might rally and explode to the finish in classic Warriors fashion. But reinforcements never came: they were serving a one-game suspension for accumulating 4 flagrant-1 fouls.
Don’t get me wrong – Green deserved the suspension on more than one level. Though the NBA rulebook is infamously open to interpretation, the ‘flagrancy’ of Draymond’s fouls were validated by precedent. Plus, the NBA warned him. Also, the NBA was financially incentivized to try to push the series back to Cleveland: don’t blame the NBA, blame capitalism. I actually supported the decision, confident that the Warriors would ultimately win the series, whether their victory comes in 5,6, or 7 games:
hey; if draymond hadnt been suspended, we wouldnt have gotten this game!
— The Almighty Baller (@AlmightyProphet) June 14, 2016
I remain confident that the Warriors will come out on top, thought I’m admittedly less so than before Game 5. The Warriors are accustomed to flirting with disaster, but ultimately, pulling the rug out from under their opponents. I have no reason to expect otherwise. In closing, it’s worth remind yourself (and myself) that this was an amazing NBA Finals performance from an exciting young star and one of the greatest – if not the greatest – NBA players ever. LeBron was fantastic, and Kyrie might have somehow outshined his teammate’s transcendental performance.
This victory reminded us that LeBron is one of the greats; it also reminded us that, even still, the Cavaliers are outmatched.
It also reminded Steve Kerr and Steph Curry that it takes an utter shit-show for the Cavs to be competitive with their buzz-saw of a team.
In the end, I’m happy LeBron got hit in the balls.