The NBA Finals are underway and the Warriors have dominated the first two games; actually, “dominated” is an understatement. From what I have seen – I saw the first game after the fact because of a social engagement – the Cavaliers look absolutely overmatched in this series. It is hard to understand how that can be given how good the Cavs have looked during most of the regular season and in the earlier rounds of these playoffs. Nonetheless, that has been the case.
The Cavaliers have one “all-time great” player and two “really, really good players” as the core of the team. Normally, that makes a team competitive with anyone else in the league but the Cavaliers have been anything but threatening in either Game 1 or Game 2. The Cavs cruised to having the best record in the NBA East this year and swept two of their previous playoff opponents. Now they look only marginally better than the Knicks.
To make things worse, the Warriors are dominating the series without getting any super-human production from either Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. They are, however, getting super-human production from Draymond Green (the MVP of Games 1 and 2 without much doubt) and from Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. Let me give you a couple of cumulative stats to demonstrate what I mean by “domination”:
Warriors 55 assists – – Cavs 32 assists
Warriors’ points in the paint 104 – – Cavs’ 82
Note: This is the area where the Warriors are supposed to be “vulnerable”.
Cavs shooting from the floor is below 37% (60 for 163).
In Game 2, the Cavs tried to play up-tempo with the Warriors; whoever thought that was a good idea is living in a delusion. The Warriors have beaten the Cavs in their last 7 games now; that means the Cavs face two significant challenges:
1. How are they going to win a couple of games to make this series look respectable?
2. How are they going to find a way to blame this debacle on David Blatt?
The NBA gave the teams an extra day off between Game 2 and Game 3 so perhaps the Cavs should use that day to fly someone to Lourdes and back. There are probably good connecting flights through JFK Airport…
Notwithstanding all of the above, the line the morning for Game 3 of this series – to be played in Cleveland tomorrow night – is Warriors – 1. It will be interesting to see how much if any that line moves over the next 36 hours…
Changing the subject to the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio, here is an item from the May 30 issue of Sports Illustrated:
Forty-two (42) condoms per athlete will be available at the Rio Olympics. 450,000 condoms will be placed in the athlete villages – more than triple the number than at London Games in 2012.
[Insert your own punchline here…]
News Flash! There has been a Keith Olbermann sighting. Evidently, he will be writing for TheRinger.com; he has a piece there related to his interactions over the years with Muhammad Ali. I thought it was a good read; you can find it here.
You can find “listicles” on loads of websites with some variation on the theme:
Which NFL teams have the worst QB situations?
I will resist any temptation to do anything like that until much closer to the NFL regular season when injury situations and starting QBs are known. However, I must say that I find two of the NFL QB situations more than a bit strange:
The NY Jets impasse with Ryan Fitzpatrick: Look, it is not as if either party in this squabble has any other legitimate options. Fitzpatrick has said he will play on a 1-year contract for $12M; there are no reports out there indicating that any other NFL team has made him an offer anywhere in the neighborhood of that number. On the other hand, the Jets have 3 QBs on the roster and none of them should get fans’ juices flowing:
Geno Smith: Getting sucker-punched last year thereby opening the door for Fitzpatrick to start was his greatest contribution to the Jets in his career.
Bryce Petty: Has never seen the field in a real NFL game.
Christian Hackenberg: Has never seen the field even in an NFL exhibition game.
The Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning retired; Brock Osweiler took a huge contract offer from the Texans. Currently on the roster:
Mark Sanchez: Really? For all 16 games? Mark Sanchez?
Trevor Siemian: In one game last year he attempted zero passes and ran the ball 1 time for minus-1 yard.
Paxton Lynch: Just drafted this year, he probably has a bit of a learning curve moving up to the NFL from the American Athletic conference.
Yes, I realize that the Broncos won with their dominating defense last year but even the greatly diminished Peyton Manning inspired more confidence than any of the trio above. Oh, and that dominating defense has been weakened to some extent by players signing elsewhere and by Aqib Talib getting shot in the leg in a barroom fight.
As I said, those QB situations look a tad off-center to me…
Finally, I found this item in Gregg Drinnan’s blog, Keeping Score, recently:
“Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong weighs in on the fight of the week: ‘Odor was handed an eight-game suspension for his part in the brawl with the Blue Jays. This will give him enough time to sign an endorsement contract with Hawaiian Punch. Not to be outdone, look for Bautista to sign a contract with Odor Eaters.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………