With the exception of one or two series’ and a “kerfuffle,” this has been a pretty boring NBA postseason. Everyone is patiently waiting for what seems to be an inevitable rematch of last year’s finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
But like the over thinkers we are, we can’t help but compare this modern day rivalry to the historic battle between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics stemming from the 1960’s. Is this the beginning of another East Coast/West Coast, Tupac/Biggie (minus the Violence) type rivalry starting to manifest?
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 7, 2017
Idols Become Rivals
With 16 NBA championships under their belt, the “Lake show” has seen at least 5 of the top 10 NBA players to ever play come through their organization. From Elgin Baylor and Jerry West to Magic Johnson and James Worthy, the Los Angeles Lakers were more than just a team to watch.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 18, 2017
Magic put on a show every night with his passing wizardry while “Big Game” James dominated the inside. But over in the East, the Boston Celtics was experiencing just as much success and when these two teams collided, you were guaranteed a hell of a basketball game.
Greats like Bill Russell and Larry Bird made this rivalry worth watching. Averaging 23 rebounds per game, Bill’s uncanny rebounding ability and dominance carried the Celtics to 8 straight NBA titles in the 60’s while Larry ran the 80’s in Boston, averaging a double double in points and rebounds, while winning three for the Celts. Altogether, the Celtics have the most championship banners hanging with 17.
So why are we comparing this rivalry to the current Warriors Cavaliers rivalry?
“I think a lot of people wanted to see Boston and the Lakers back in the day. I think nowadays a lot of people want to see Golden State (vs. the) Cavs. It’s not a problem, Right now it’s two of the teams playing some of the best basketball right now. Two of the teams that have been in back-to-back Finals. So why not? Why not want to see it again?” -Cavaliers Head Coach Tyron Lue
Through the first 8 games/2 rounds of this post season, LeBron James is averaging 35 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. He joins a small elite group of NBA stars averaging at least 30, 5, and 5 in the post season.
This is the 12th consecutive year he has made the playoffs and not one time has he lost a game in the first round. He is arguably having one of the best post seasons in NBA history. But even Jordan needed a formidable opponent to prove that these numbers don’t lie.
After not playing the majority of the first and second round in the 2016 playoffs, Steph Curry is conducting business as usual. Shooting 41% from 3 this post season, Steph is averaging 27 points and 6 assists. But with the addition of Kevin Durant (despite him blowing a 3-1 lead as well) this off season, LeBron and the Cavs should be in for an epic showdown. That is if the Boston Celtics don’t have something else in mind.
— Sport News (@FeedSportNews) May 11, 2017
For the first time in a long time, we finally got it right. This type of rivalry is what fans pay money to see or revolve their entire work day around just to be in front of a television in time for tip off. The competitive nature between the Celtics and Lakers back then is similar to what we see now between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Larry and Magic had enough respect for each other to let their games speak for them and it was shown on the court.
If we get what we need, this will be the first time in history the same two teams have met in the NBA finals for the third consecutive year. The Warriors have not lost a game this post season and the Cavs have (so far) dropped one.
Both teams are looking like future NBA champions.
Lebron James & Steph Curry | 2015 pic.twitter.com/5cXTH2gfgr
— NBA Throwbacks (@ThrowbacksNBA) April 29, 2017
Honestly, any fan of basketball cannot be upset at this. Two of the best teams ever put together performing on the biggest basketball stage in the world. What more could you ask for in June besides your favorite uncle on the grill with his apron on and Bluetooth in cooking up some of the best ribs you’ve ever had?