Culver City Observer -

Warriors vs. Cavaliers: A Classic NBA Final


By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

There’s a suggestion going around on radio sports talk shows that LeBron James should play for a different NBA team every year to spread out the championships.

It’s silly of course. He isn’t going to change teams every year. But considering that he will be participating in an NBA Final for the fifth consecutive year, three with Miami and two with Cleveland, which was horrid before he joined them, you get the point.

Put him on any team and that team becomes elite.

I do think LeBron is great, but I don’t know if he can lead Cleveland past Golden State in the 2015 NBA Finals, now underway,

To me it’s a classic matchup. The Cavaliers have overcome key injuries and are on the brink of winning their first championship ever. The Warriors haven’t won a championship since their only one in 1975.

This will be the first time since the NBA’s first season (I947) that two rookie coaches have guided their teams against each other in an NBA Final.

In one of the NBA’s most dramatic stories of this season, David Blatt has led Cleveland into the Finals after the highly regarded team lost 21 of its first 41 games and rumors flowed that he was on the brink of being fired.

He hadn’t played or coached in the NBA but had won multiple championships in Europe. The guy can coach but doubters believed NBA experience was essential.

Kerr, who played at Palisades High and the University of Arizona, went on to play on five NBA championship teams, three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs.

Have you seen Steph Curry and Clay Thompson astonish fans with their three-point accuracy this season? Well, it’s no coincidence that Kerr would encourage this style of offense considering that he made 45 percent of his three-point shots, the best in league history, as a player.

Golden State is considered to be a great offensive team and that’s regarded as the reason it won 67 of its 82 regular season games.

But it also has a vastly underrated defense. It led the NBA this season in both offensive and defensive statistics.

Some other things to consider:

First, the Warriors had a dynamic backcourt several years ago consisting of Curry and Monta Ellis but wasn’t a championship-caliber team. About that time former Laker great Jerry West went there as a consultant.

Someone in that organization, and I suspect it was West, realized the Warriors needed a top-notch center. A trade was then made, sending away the popular Ellis and bringing in Andrew Bogut.

Bogut isn’t great but gives the Warriors strength inside and Dramond Green, a forward, has emerged as a big factor too. Green is about to become a free agent And the Warriors better be sure to keep such a valuable guy.

Golden State has the home court advantage in this series. The teams will each have two home games, then Golden State has No. 5, Cleveland No. 6 and Golden State No. 7.

That’s an important change from the 2-3-2 format of many years. I applaud the change. I never thought it was fair for the team with the best record to have three straight road games in the middle of the series.

I’ve heard it happened because the NBA chiefs wanted the series to stay in one place so it could invite sponsors to a week-long party.

Thank goodness reason has prevailed.


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