The Real Winners Of This Year’s NBA Finals Are The Fans, No Matter The Result
Fans, no matter what happens during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, we won. Seriously, repeat after me, we won.
Many of us would likely see a 3-1 series in which there’s been one game that’s been decided in single digits as an imbalance in competition. The devil lies in the details though, and looking through the details of these Finals shows just how incredible it is that we got here – a third straight NBA Finals between the Cavs and Warriors – in the first place.
For starters, let’s take the time to welcome back Kevin Durant to the NBA Finals. The Slim Reaper showed why Draymond was right to call him after that crushing Game 7 loss last year. Durant has managed to make himself a member of the 50-40-90 club while averaging 34 points per game in these Finals, which even with the curve folks are choosing to foolish grade him on for signing with the Warriors, is insane.
Hell, Durant might have the most iconic shot from this series since the NBA playoffs with the Game three transition 3-pointer to seal the game on the road. If anything, Durant has shown us what happens when a player is given a proper culture and coaching that can foster to his skills.
Speaking of skills, why not highlight what Kyrie Irving has done in the last two games? The man put on two performances so astonishing, you might actually believe the world is flat. Scoring 71 points in the two home games in Cleveland, telling Nino Brown Dwayne Wade “I told you so” and bringing back memories of the Spike Lee/Reggie Miller back and forth banter of the hallowed 90’s era playoff basketball.
Even showing all those clichéd intangibles like grit, and fighting when your back is against the wall in an elimination game, Irving has come to play in this series.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room: LeBron James.
Likely cementing his status as a top three player ever in these NBA Finals. Not only is James averaging a triple double in this series, he’s made history as he grinds away at his own legacy with the spirit of John Henry against the machine that is the Golden State Warriors. Not only did James pass another No. 23 in terms of Finals points (James is now third), James now owns the record for triple doubles in the NBA Finals passing Magic Johnson.
Again, LeBron is in his 14th season and is breaking records and collecting accolades like they owe him money. We as basketball fans are watching greatness and instead bemoaning macro-level issues like overall parity in the league, whilst at the same time ignoring that this Finals series is a Kyle Korver missed three-pointer away from being all square at two games apiece.
Moreover, we still have the drama of Game 5 on Monday night. Does Durant close in on some accolades of his own, or does LeBron add to his legend and force a Game 6? Does Draymond keep his cool and not put his team in an awkward spot should Golden State lose Game 5? Can Zaza Pachulia stop being a dirty player? Will Steph Curry show up big in an Finals elimination game for the first time in two years?
All these questions and more can – and will be – answered. That’s what the focus should be instead of looking to next year. Let’s embrace the minutiae and the gravity of what we’re lucky to witness. Let’s enjoy the moment. And let’s savor the fact that yes, we – the fans – have won either way.