By MyFM's Jake Archer - Technically, I could make this the shortest article that I have ever written on this website. There isn't a whole lot to this series, and boy I'd love to just leave it at Warriors in 4. However, I won't do that because I don't think that would be a good use of anyone's time. Instead, I'll try to give you my reasoning for a series that really doesn't need much explanation at all.
Look, LeBron James is great. I may not like him but I cannot deny his greatness. Although I wasn't fawning over him like most people were after he beat the Celtics, I am impressed that he's taking this lackluster group to the NBA Finals. It's his worst Finals team besides 2007 (I really don't know which supporting cast was worse, but I'm leaning '07) and although the "Hospital Celtics" should have beat him, no other player could do what he's done here. I'm not going to proclaim that he's better than Michael Jordan or anything, but he's pretty ridiculous.
With all that said, he's going to get trounced by the Golden State Warriors. LeBron may be the best player on the floor in this series (some are saying he should win Finals MVP if he doesn't get swept), but he's going up against the Death Star of basketball lineups without a real second banana. Even if the Cavaliers still had Kyrie Irving or a healthy Isaiah Thomas, they'd still be facing a tall task. Now, LeBron has a half-concussed Kevin Love (who is still a shell of his once great self despite earning an All Star nod), Jeff Green (oh boy) and Kyle Korver! The Cavs are actually going to have to guard someone like Steph Curry or Klay Thompson with JR Smith. I'm sorry, but they stand literally no shot.
It's tough to know what to root for in this series because I hate so much about LeBron and the Cavaliers, but I also hate Golden State. On one hand, seeing LeBron take down Golden State by himself would be amazing. At that point, there would be no more hating on him and you'd have to proclaim him as the best to ever do it. It's an impossible feat and I'd love to see the arrogant Warriors choke while they all bicker on the court. Maybe that would break them up, or at least shut them up.
If there's anyone in sports that I can't stand, it's Kevin Durant. Durant is the softest, whiniest superstar athlete I've ever seen and that includes LeBron. Everything about Durant just stinks and seeing him go to Golden State to stack the deck and rip off championships was annoying and honestly cheap. It's also impossible to like anything about Draymond Green, who just runs his mouth despite riding Durant, Steph and Klay to relevancy and taking cheap shots at opponents. After that, my dislike goes to Steph, who used to be so easy to love. At some point, Curry jumped the shark and everything about him became cocky and annoying. I know that's unpopular with many young kids who buy his jersey, but it's true.
Finally, I really, really don't have anything good to say about Steve Kerr. He's an all-time jerk who is so smug about himself and his team. I'd love to see that guy try to coach a regular squad with only one star. I'd bet a good amount of money that he wouldn't make the postseason and no one would be praising him for anything. Ugh, I know I sound like a bitter person but these two teams are just the worst and I'm so, so sick of them.
So there is an element of me that would like to see LeBron make this thing interesting. In 2016, when he came back from down 3-1, I was rooting for him because he was overmatched and it was fun. Now he's staring at the most lopsided Finals possibly of all time and we're staring at a boring series. The NBA thinks that somehow having these two play for a fourth straight year is a good thing, but I bet the ratings go way down. Not many people believe this is going to be competitive, and even if it was, we've had enough. There's no need for more Cavs-Warriors.
I guess it's time for me to make my argument about why I'd want LeBron and Cleveland to lose and why I think that is what will happen (actually, sorry I KNOW). I want LeBron to lose and I want it to be a sweep. Conveniently enough, that's what I think it will be. The reason it can't go more than four is because if it does, we'll have the worst of both worlds. Golden State will win and LeBron will still get praised. While I think many will still argue in his favor if he gets swept, it'll be harder to discount that. Technically, he should be able to find a way to sneak one game, but I doubt he will.
You see, LeBron didn't quit in the Celtics series because he saw an opportunity. He knew that if he could just get to the Finals against this powerhouse in Golden State, he could play the role of martyr. People would sympathize with him and say that it wasn't his fault he lost because he didn't have enough to work with (and he'd carefully help push this narrative as well before, during and after the series). Cleveland fans would be happy with him for trying and they'd look at his tenure as a valiant effort to win championships for them with no help from the front office or ownership. Then that way, when LeBron decides to leave this offseason, they won't blame him! It's a fool proof plan.
Well, it's fool proof until you realize that 1. many people will still hate on you and criticize you for the Finals loss unless you push it far or win it and 2. LeBron is not without fault for his crappy team. Sure, there is ownership and a front office but James really runs the show and makes all the calls on what to do with the roster. By doing things the way he's done them (going year-to-year with no guarantees, paying his friends, etc.) he's made the team around him look like this. Yet many will never criticize LeBron (cough ESPN cough) and he's going to get away with this mostly. The worst case for him would have been Houston beating the Warriors (also don't play yourself by saying GS is vulnerable) and then beating him. He'd have no excuses and then he wouldn't be able to head there this offseason without getting killed for it.
So anyway, if these two teams are going to go at it again, and we kind of know how it's going to go, I'm rooting for it to go that way and go that way dramatically. I hope LeBron and the Cavs get swept in a series of 20-40 point games. It's conceivable too. While the Warriors do mess around and toy with teams at times, I believe they'll be able to do that against this group for Cleveland and not suffer a loss. At home in the Bay Area, things are going to get loud and the barrage of three-pointers is going to make atleast one of these games unwatchable. I'm talking like the Cavs quit completely and it's over at halftime unwatchable. Cleveland just refuses to play defense and this Warriors team puts up points at an alarming rate. We could see some All Star game scores from the Dubs due to some All Star game defense from the Cavs.
I simply cannot root for LeBron James and I'll just relish watching him get his butt whooped while his fans and the state of Ohio have nothing to say. His postgame press conferences will be appointment viewing and his body language will be something to study. It's going to feel gross to be on Golden State's side, but oh well, it's what makes the most sense as a Celtics fan.
Now that LeBron has gotten to this point and laid his plan out to perfection, he's free to pack it in whenever he wants. I'll bet he "conserves energy" in Games 1 and 2 before showing an ounce of fight at home in Games 3 and 4. It won't be enough and we'll head on to the real fun of the NBA calendar year, the offseason, with LeBron Watch in full effect. Get ready Cavs fans, you're about to see your man play his last home game in Cleveland before ditching you again.
*For as boring as I think this series will be and for as much as I hate the fact that the NBA is like this with the same two teams every year, I do love watching the Warriors. I hate them, but they are entertaining in how they play basketball.
**Also, I won't be impressed with this Warriors run when it's over. Sorry, but they are expected to do this with a team like they have and they've also had extraordinary luck with injuries to their opponents.
***This was a hate-fest so I'll end it with something nice. Steph Curry is going to win Finals MVP for torching whoever covers him every single game.