A 73-9 team versus a team that hasn’t won since… ever. Who would you have bet on? Last night, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers faced off for the second straight year, but this time, things were different. Kyrie Irving was healthy, along with the less important Kevin Love. After the Cavs looked lost and they were down 3-1 in Golden State, they turned it around and won three straight games to bring a title back to Cleveland, something LeBron James promised when he was drafted out of high school in 2003. The King fulfilled his destiny, but what does this mean for his legacy? And what will last night’s loss mean for the Warriors?
LeBron James, a 3-time champion, did someone that no one—not Jordan, not Kobe, not Kareem, not Magic, not Bird—has done. He led all players on both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, as well as recorded the first NBA Finals game 7 triple double since James Worthy! LeBron James certainly proved his greatness this series, and led the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. However, let us not say he did it by himself because he did not. Kyrie Irving, for one, was essential during this series. The physical play of Tristan Thompson definitely elevated the Cav’schances in this series as well. Role players such as J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson (yes, he still plays, but he just retired) and even Kevin Love in game 7, completed the puzzle to defeat the defending champs and reclaim the gold. So, what does this mean for LeBron’s legacy?
LeBron James is an all-time great player, but where does he rank? Well, this is a question that many people can dissect and analyze. In my opinion, it is too hard to say at this point in his career, and unfortunately it would not be fair to start ranking him until his career ends. He is 3-4 in the finals, a 4-time league MVP with career averages of 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. His versatility is unmatched by anyone, due to his size, strength and ability, but his greatness will either continue to grow or falter as his career continues, and we just need to wait and see. Maybe he has lost a step—we have seen moments of fatigue and wear—but nonetheless, he played like a champion should in games 5-7.
Now, to the Warriors. What does their loss mean for them?
73-9 was the greatest regular season record of all time. However, there is no ring to accompany it. Stephen Curry deserved to win MVP for the regular season, and he should be viewed as the greatest shooter ever, because he is. However, regardless of a knee “injury” Curry deserves to take a majority of the blame for the series loss. In games 1-3 he was practically invisible, and while he began to heat up in the remaining games, last night he missed his last handful of shots in the final 4 minutes of the game.
However, Draymond Green deserves some blame for the series being extended but he certainly made amends for that by putting up a near triple double last night with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists. Klay Thompson came up small last night as well putting up only 14 points on 17 shot attempts—not good. It seemed to be a case of youth for the Warriors; they showed their vulnerabilities against a hungry, physical Cavaliers squad. With Green’s suspension, the momentum of the series completely shifted to LeBron and crew, as they took full advantage. Now, the Warriors of 2015-16 can be seen as the greatest regular season team of all time, which in part is what they wanted. However, the talk about being better than the Showtime Lakers or 96’ Bulls can be put to bed for now.
I think we know who’s feelings are hurt now…and I don’t think looking at those new Curry shoes will help anyone right now.
Will we see another rematch next year? If so, how will that end?
Image via solecollector.com
About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a rising 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the Oregon football team. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).