Review of the Warrior and Cavs NBA Final Rematch
One thing we learned during the annual Christmas Day bonanza of NBA games is that the NBA Finals rematch of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors is going to be delicious and intriguing.
The Cavs rallied at home to beat the Warriors 109-108 as the rest of the league chases these teams. At times having these two teams on the same floor looks like an NBA all-star game. Cleveland’s LeBron James is the world’s best player. Teammate Kevin Love scores more first quarter points than anyone and guard Kyrie Irving can still make impossible shots while making a difficult game-winner again.
On the other side of the ball Kevin Durant is the league’s second or third best player and Steph Curry is its best deep shooter. There is talent galore and they appear headed for a third straight NBA Finals to break the 1-1 tie.
Golden State had this one won. Up 108-105 with under a minute to play Andre Iguodala attempted to hit Durant with a long pass, but Durant fumbled the ball and Irving stole it to set up a shot to slice the lead to one. It was that type of back and forth action that made this game so intriguing.
So who can step in to intercept this rematch? Nobody in the East and only Oklahoma City and San Antonio in the West. However, those teams are not complete enough to get the job done. OKC is getting more from its bench and Russell Westbrook is a triple, double machine learning to get his offense and set up teammates. But he no longer has Durant and that is a big void. The Spurs are struggling a bit but they know the importance of peeking at the right time. There is no need to show all your cards right now.
After the huge victory the Cavs lost 106-90 to the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills without James. It was their fifth game in seven days and Coach Tyrone Lue decided to rest James. They are now 4-18 without James since he returned three seasons ago from Miami.
The game ended in controversy when league officials admitted the Cavs Richard Jefferson should have been called for a foul that caused Durant to stumble and throw up an off-balanced shot. And James should have received a technical foul for hanging onto the rim too long after a dunk.
“There are a lot of fouls throughout the course of the game that don’t get called,” Lue said. “It’s a tough game to officiate. The players we have, the way guys can draw fouls and contact, so that was an incidental play at the end of the game. You don’t want the game decided on two free throws at the end of the game. I didn’t see (the foul). There wasn’t much contact to me.”
Durant shot back “I fell and I didn’t fall on my own.”
Both teams are likely to remember in June when they lace it up again to decide king of the league.