6 months ago
Lost in the scoresheet of the Golden State Warriors’ 113-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One of the NBA Finals Thursday night was this stat: Since the beginning of the playoffs there was exactly one team with a real chance to win the championship.
As Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins writes, this year’s NBA playoffs to date have been “putrid”—a product of a superteam that added Kevin Durant to its roster to leapfrog last year’s champion Cavs. Parity has given way to parody and the previous rounds have been little more than formalities. Not so captivating if you’re a fan of the game who lives anywhere outside of Northern California.
“Warriors-Cavaliers, as constituted a year ago, may indeed have been Lakers-Celtics,” writes Jenkins. “But with Kevin Durant on one side of the ledger, it becomes something else entirely. The Cavs, who added Kyle Korver, are better. The Dubs, who added Durant, are a monolith on a level the modern era has never seen.
“For one night, June looked no different than April or May, a new foil succumbing to the same ruthless result. Durant’s presence, the Cavaliers discovered, does not simply tilt the balance of this rivalry. It threatens to crash the scale.”
It’s only a 1-0 deficit for the Cavs, a team who does have arguably the best player in the game in LeBron James, but the fact is that the Warriors are 13-for-13 this postseason. With apologies to Michael Jordan, this year’s squad, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson also able to dominate on any given night, may be the best team the league has ever seen.
“All spring, it was Golden State, Cleveland, and everybody else,” writes Jenkins. “Then they met Thursday and the Warriors made the Cavaliers look like another hopeless member of that ineffectual mob.”