It’s here. The time has come. LeBron James and his “Posse” take on Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the improved Golden State Warriors. From the Halloween Party poking fun at the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead to Draymond Green having something to say about everything Cavaliers related all season long, the time has come to put up or get embarrassed by the biggest villain; The Internet.
Golden State hasn’t lost a game with all four of its All-Stars in uniform since Feb. 28 … which was the night Kevin Durant got hurt in DC.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 1, 2017
But who has the most to lose?
This is LeBron’s 7th consecutive trip to the finals and the Jordan comparison has grown beyond control. On the flipside, Kevin Durant is in his first season with the already loaded Warriors and winning a ring is the only end game for him and his legacy.
Statistically speaking, LeBron has shattered the 2017 NBA playoffs. Every fan of basketball was weary of the way the Cavaliers were playing towards the end of the season and wondered if they could indeed “flip the switch” this year. The switch was indeed flipped, but mainly by LeBron James only.
Luckily, the Cav’s road to the finals was spent mostly in the HOV lane en route to the Golden State. However, now that we’ve arrived, LeBron is going to need a lot more help, primarily on the defensive end, if there is going to be a chance at a repeat.
In this post season, LeBron is putting up 32.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, all under 41 minutes. But since a NBA game is 48 minutes long, contributions from the likes of Irving, Love, and Korver will be needed tremendously.
LeBron made it clear he was chasing the “Ghost/GOAT that played in Chicago.” The way he has been laying waste to teams this postseason, it’s clear that there is no one currently in this league that can stop LeBron.
— CNN (@CNN) June 1, 2017
There are a handful of teams in the NBA where the entire season is a bust if they don’t win a championship. For LeBron James, winning a championship or playing for one has pretty much been expected since he entered the league.
If he can pull this off, the LeBron and Jordan talks start to get a bit more serious and although no one is particularly prepared or even wants a Jordan replacement, you can’t ignore the talent and level LeBron James has elevated his game to.
The Warriors Add Kevin Durant
It’s a completely different mindset for the Golden State Warriors. I can only imagine the chip on their shoulder after blowing a 3-1 lead AND allowing the Cavaliers to celebrate on your home court.
The two teams split wins in the regular season and have been working tirelessly to get to this point. But for the Warriors, recapturing what they feel is rightfully theirs is the mindset for these NBA finals.
Did I mention they have Kevin Durant now as well?
RT if the Golden State Warriors will become the 2017 NBA Champions. pic.twitter.com/B7jUScOSy9
— NBA (@hofmatchup) June 1, 2017
Before Durant lost a friend in Russell Westbrook and left OKC, you could’ve said last year the Warriors was the best team in the NBA. But thanks to Durant, the Golden State Warriors is arguably the best team put together in the history of the NBA. The “Big four” of Curry, Thompson, Durant, and Green make it a nightmare defensively for any team.
They don’t rely on simply just one player to put points on the board when the going gets tough. Instead, they have a multitude of players (even on the bench) talented enough to get the job done. On defense, they are versatile enough to switch and guard almost every position.
If they can slow LeBron down (because there is no stopping a freight train) at the least, Cleveland will be on the losing end of this battle.
LBJ vs KD
There is a lot at stake here for Kevin Durant. In his second finals appearance, he is meeting none other than LeBron James again. In their first meeting, James took the Miami Heat to what was his first ring against KD and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here, they meet again and this time both are on different teams but KD is in the same place, no ring.
The pressure on KD winning this year is immense mainly because of the way he got here. Leaving a team that was pretty much built around you, for a team that eliminated you just the year prior can say a something about your loyalty.
But when the owner who drafted you in Seattle doesn’t want to pay for a new arena, the front office of your new team doesn’t want to pay your teammate who was sixth man of the year, and your coach gets fired, what is loyalty?
Kevin Durant did what was best for him and his career and that’s what matters. He joins that handful of teams where it’s championship or bust.
Not winning this year may not only break the internet, but change the way we view Kevin Durant as an elite basketball player.
James and Durant both have an equal amount of “motivation” for these finals which will make for a hell of a story in ten years when my son asks “Who is the greatest basketball player besides you?”