Cavaliers title defense begins in historical trilogy
For the first time in NBA history two team will meet for the championship in three consecutive seasons.
The last time two pro teams faced each other in three straight title contests was the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadians, who faced off for the Stanley Cup from 1954-56. Before that, it was the Cleveland Browns against the Detroit Lions (1952-54) and before that, the New York Yankees vs. the New York Giants (1921-23).
There is one thing that separates those matchups from Cavs-Warriors, however. They’re the only foes that have split the first two meetings.
Two teams will be meeting for the pinnacle, the championship in three consecutive years.
The Defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers versus the 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love versus Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
The King and all his men versus the Evil Empire.
This is beyond epic and any sane person will tell you they don’t know what the hell will happen.
However, when you deal in the realm of professional sports, pundits, fans or casual observers then you throw out the window any rationale of saneness.
This is insanity. Three do overs in an era when a player can jump to any team he chooses.
Cleveland knows this painful experience all too well after LeBron took his talents to South Beach.
Durant carried his lethal long range bomb from Oklahoma City to the dock of bay in Oakland and joined one of the most dynamic teams in modern NBA history.
When the Warriors added the seven foot, sharp shooter and former MVP to a two time MVP in Curry, a marksman in Klay Thompson and the hard hat toolkit of Green to the dock of the Bay the league when shivering into a Russian collusion rant. This after the Cavs erased a 3-1 deficit to win their first title in historical fashion last year.
The year before, with Love and Irving out with injuries, the Warriors celebrated their first title in decades on the Cavs home floor. Last year the Cavs celebrated on the Warriors home court.
So, for both of these two franchises whose fate was altered by a kid born in Akron, it’s “We started at the bottom and now we’re here.”
Draw a line through that LeBron bug out game 3 against the Celtics and he has been Godly and worldly in the post season. He passed Michael Jordan for all-time points in the post season, although critics will say it took him more games, who’s going to argue how you get to Mt. Rushmore?
Irving introduced himself on the world stage in last year’s Finals with a dagger step back three-point game winner to seal the title.
Love has emerged from the shadows of both LeBron and Irving to resemble the player who was on a torrid scoring pace with Minnesota. He has always been a terrific rebounder and accurate long distance passer, and now he’s as good as he’s ever been post Minnesota.
Tristan Thompson is a rebounding machine, which now has inside post scoring moves and is capable of making free throws.
J.R. Smith, known for his long range shooting prowess is now as good a on the ball defender as there is, and the Cavs bench led by Iman Shumpert and Deron Williams is on par if not superior to the Warriors second unit.
Toss in the Cavs former coach Mike Brown who may be the head coach on the Warriors bench while Steve Kerr is on the mend and you’ve got yourself one juicy entrée that can’t wait to be devoured.
Cleveland has gone from a city that could not wait for the worst to happen to one that now anticipates the best always happening, a dangerous mental psyche considering its history.
The Warriors fan base of rabid bandwagon groupies, anticipate the best outcome regardless of the score or opponent.
Rolling off 27 of 28 games to close the season and undefeated through three rounds of the playoffs, on the heels of an NBA record 73-9 last year will do that to you.
Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier three times in one of sports most memorable trilogies. Ali won the final two when Frazier’s corner threw in the towel in the “Thrilla in Manila.”
Racehorses Affirmed and Alydar ran three nail biting Triple Crown races in 1978 with Affirmed winning all three legs and becoming the 11th horse to win the coveted Triple Crown.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird met in three NBA finals with Bird leading the Celtics in 1984 and Magic leading the Lakers in 1985 and 1987.
Andre Iguodala won the 2015 MVP when the Warriors defeated the Cavs in round one and LeBron won MVP honors last year.
The table is set for the all of the stars to twinkle when The Finals begin Thursday June 1 in Oakland.
Cavs fans will not see their Eastern Conference champions until Wednesday June 7 at the Q.
Will LeBron be in position to win back-to-back titles while playing in his 7th consecutive NBA Finals when he returns? LeBron is the only non-Celtic to accomplish that feat.
Giddy up, it could be long or short, but it will certainly be memorable.