Golden State or Cleveland? A guide to the Steven Adams-less NBA Finals.
The NBA playoffs saw a genuine shift in the conversation around Steven Adams. This entire past season has been a game-changer for him, but things went from “cool that he’s a Kiwi, I guess,” to “GTFOH, how is he doing this?” in pretty much no time at all. Keep in mind that he’s 22-years-old; it really wasn’t that long ago that he was just a kid at a loose end in Rotorua.
Oklahoma City Thunder defied all odds to go up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, but they fell apart just as quickly as they figured it out. Maybe you could place the blame on Russell Westbrook for losing control of the offence, or Kevin Durant for his inability to close out in those late-round games. Hell, we could always blame no.1 Warriors fan Lydia Ko for this unbelievable act of disloyalty.
But the fact is, there’s nothing truly surprising about the Warriors winning. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson saved the team by doing exactly what they had been doing all season; with Westbrook and Durant turning superhuman for three games, it just took a little longer than expected.
But there’s just one dilemma: who should you support now that Adams’ offseason is underway? Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers? There’s Australians on both teams, so that makes this one hard.
You’re going to need some help.
You’re going to need a guide to the Steven Adams-less NBA Finals.
Let’s do this.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors arguably have more on the line than anyone. They’re the greatest regular-season team of all time, Steph Curry is a back-to-back MVP, and they’ve just emerged from a gruelling come-from-behind win against the Thunder; taking out the Finals would bookend a historic run and forever justify their status in NBA history.
The Warriors exploit each and every team’s weaknesses and then they completely blow them off the court. On any given night you’re likely to witness heroics from Curry, Klay Thompson or Draymond Green, and the odds are on them ascending to the top again to steal this one from the Cavs.
But it’s not always fun to watch.
They’re number one in efficiency, but they’re also number one in smugness. If anything, it’s their fatal flaw - it gives teams facing them extra incentive to go hard.
Each and every call against them is disputed in exhausting fashion, which isn’t that great to watch either. Recently it came out that Andre Iguodala “didn't want his daughter playing basketball at school in case she became a lesbian”. So there’s that, too.
Also, wouldn't life would be better if we never had to be subjected to anything like this?
Lebron James and the Cavs need to pull off a win for the sanctity of Cleveland, the only American city with at least three major sports franchises that haven’t won a championship in the last 50 years. The curse is very real, if you didn’t know, and a win would be the ultimate storybook ending after their Finals appearance last year was derailed by injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
They’re also the underdog in this match-up, which will make this endlessly fun to watch. Going up against the Warriors, who are coming off a historic 73-9 season, won’t be easy. But they’re a team built for winning now, and under new head coach Tyronn Lue, they’ve finally figured out how to set aside any dysfunction and come together to work as a unit.
Nowadays, it’s all-round good vibes:
On the court, it’s even better.
In true Cavs fashion, they lost consecutive games mid-way through the Eastern Conference Finals against the middling Toronto Raptors, which led everyone to reconsider Cleveland’s place in the conversation. Put it this way: when they’re at their best, they could be the perfect team to bring Golden State crashing back down to earth. At their worst, you might as well switch off your TV. There’s always the possibility that they’ll break your heart.
The NBA Finals begin today.