To say this game was over early would be an understatement. All of the haters of Golden State’s reckless aerial bombing which has spread like a disease to every AAU and CYO program in the country, are smiling from ear to ear. They have been waiting two years to say what has been on the tip of their tongue like a bump that you can’t pop, “You live by the three, you die by the three”
The inability to stroke the three-ball at the same superhuman rate that they have for the last 170 plus games has finally caught up to Golden State.
In the midst of their 115-101 loss to Cleveland in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, analyst Mark Jackson said of his former team's unusually horrid shooting:
“These are shots they have made all season long…"
Yeah. Everything was off. Except Cleveland's championship funk flow.
Cleveland ran up a 31-8 first quarter lead. It was like Golden State got snuffed before a fight and couldn’t recover because they kept getting stomped out right after getting snuffed. When Chef fouled out in the fourth quarter for first time since December 2014 and was ejected for the first time in his career shortly after, it was indicative of how weird this NBA finals has become. The usually calm Curry, disagreed with the foul, screamed on the ref, got ejected and threw his mouth piece and it hit a fan, finishing his night with a quiet 30 points.
The first half was total domination by Cleveland. In fact, the Golden State team was unrecognizable. They can’t hit a three to save their lives which is totally uncharacteristic of a team who fractured NBA three-point scoring records. Golden State has world class ballers out there looking like Gerald Levert on pain killers. It’s like the entire series dipped into the Twilight Zone and the teams switched identities.
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Maybe Golden State peaked too early in the season and Draymond’s suspension was the window Cleveland needed to pull off the improbable. With all of the momentum in Cleveland’s favor, Golden State will undoubtedly be the team with all of the pressure in Game 7 because everyone other than LeBron James’ mom and the city of Akron thought the series was done at 3-1.
Some say the NBA had other plans, but that can’t be substantiated and it’s highly unlikely that despite Adam Silver and James’ reported close relationship, Bron Bron would be shown such blatant favoritism. Plus, it's the Curry jersey that's been selling off the NBA rack for some time now.
Despite setting an NBA record for treys in a finals series, the frustration on the two-time MVP's face was obvious as the rim played him like a jilted girlfriend and embraced LeBron's less fanciful offerings. The game was basically a human highlight film with King James catching alley-oops and such and dissecting the Warriors like lab rats. The only time the game got exciting was at the end of the third quarter when Golden State ran off 10 straight points.
(Photo Credit: NBA.com)
Thompson, who ended the first half 3-of-12 from the field with seven points exploded for 15 of his 22 points to that juncture in the third period. Golden State was able to cut Cleveland’s lead to nine entering the fourth quarter as Thompson nailed a couple of threes and drove to the rack for a bucket late in the third.
However, the run was short lived as Golden State couldn’t muster that championship push to the finish line on Thursday night, on the road, against The Brand Name and Co.
The final disrespect was when James violently swatted Curry's shot with 4:32 left and started talking trash to him. He gave the usually slick talking, demonstrative Curry a bit of his own medicine. Let's not forget the 41 points for the second consecutive playoff game and the disrespectful chants of "MVP!" "MVP!" coming from the Cleveland crowd. Shaq was the last player to display offensive dominance of that ilk, 16 years ago.
Many were left wondering what happened to the fleet-footed, unstoppable shooting kings that ran off 73 wins behind a championship season? When is the last time in recent memory a two-time MVP has been this neutralized by different ball clubs in a playoffs?
(Photo Credit: NBA.com)
It appears that LeBron and Cleveland are administering a slow death to Golden State. On the other hand this can be another part of a really bad joke the NBA gods are playing on the state of Ohio and the guy who rules this basketball generation. James can't get to Game 7 and lose.
You have to believe that James is ultra motivated to not only beat a guy he thinks stole his MVP, but prove to the basketball world that his skills reign supreme and compared to him Curry is a Barnum and Bailey side show. It’s indisputable that as quickly as Steph has risen to the top of the NBA food chain, he has diminished his aura of invincibility a bit with his erratic effectiveness this series. Ain’t nothing coming easy for a guy who they said couldn't miss.
It’s Game 7 time. It will be a direct battle between the supposed top two players in the world. There’s no better way to settle the debate than by measuring the magnitude of each player's’ performance in a pivotal Game 7. Hollywood couldn’t write a better script.