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Are the Warriors Beatable?

From NBC SportsWorld:

In the upcoming PosCast with Mike Vaccaro, we talk briefly about the upcoming NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland, and I tell him that as a Clevelander, I’m not sure whether to be encouraged or discouraged by the Oklahoma City series.

The encouraging thing from the Cavs perspective is simple: For much of that series, Golden State looked absolutely beatable. Mediocre, even. If Golden State plays like that against the Cavaliers, I am making the call right now: Cleveland will have its first championship in more than 50 years.

The not-so-encouraging thing, they still had enough magic to win playing like that — and really, what are the chances they will have ANOTHER series like that where they can’t get a rebound, turn the ball over consistently and play out of control for long spans?

It’s a lot to think about.

Goliath is Wobble

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23 Responses to Are the Warriors Beatable?

  1. Brent says:

    I would like the Cavs a lot more in this series if I could figure out who Irving is going to (theoretically) guard (I say theoretically, because he doesn’t ever really “guard” anyone, he just kind of stands in front of them until they blow by him) Harrison Barnes maybe? Honestly, they couldn’t possibly put him on Curry or Thompson.

    • Rob Smith says:

      True. OKC flourished because of the defense they played, especially on Curry and Green. GS did rush shots and didn’t pass the ball like they should, but it was because of the ball pressure & the denying of the ball, especially to Curry, that was forcing them out of what they wanted to do. OKC made GS very uncomfortable offensively. If the Cavs want to beat them, they have the video and the blueprint in front of them. But executing on that blueprint means players like Irving have to actually play tenacious defense. My guess is LeBron will play Curry. I’m not sure how the Cavs will matchup and what lineup they will employ, but Irving on Thompson would be a disaster.

  2. Erik Amborn says:

    I just read your article and it for sure means that you have been in bed snoring on East Coast time and haven’t really watched the games. Maybe you should drink some coffee and wake up. East Coast biased much? Is it that hard for you to admit when you are watching a great team other than your favorite team? I am sure you would have a lot more followers and people that actually respected what you have to say if you pay just a little more attention to some of the other teams in the league. Let me know if you need the advise of a real sports reporter. Go Jim Rome!! If you ever want to come out to CA and actually watch the game I have a room you can stay in.

    • Mark Daniel says:

      What the hell?

    • Rob Smith says:

      The point is, we did watch all those 9:00 pm games where the Warriors played little defense, got killed on the boards, didn’t pass the ball well, turned it over on very lazy passes and forced way too many quick shots very early in the shot clock. We also watched Draymond Green teeter on the verge of getting suspended and ruining the entire season.

      I know OKC forced a lot of the offensive woes with very tenacious defense, and largely with effective ball movement (except in the critical moments of Game 6 and 7). But, at times, I thought I was watching my son’s AAU team go through a stretch where they forgot how to play the game. If you don’t see any of this, you’re really letting your fan-boy get away from you.

      Oh, and I was rooting for the Warriors to get it together & win. It was painful to watch.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      Erik, the old adage about it being better to shut up and let people think you are an idiot than speaking and removing all doubt would apply to your comment. I would say that Joe does not need your advice and he certainly doesn’t need to model himself after a meathead like Jim Rome.

    • Chaz says:

      Your advise must be much sought after.

  3. Oaksterdam says:

    Uh, OKC is a Ferrari. Cavs are a KIA, and the Dubs are a Bugatti. The Cavs play the pick and roll like not at all. Winning the Least means nothing. Although LeBron is great. The 2nd great player in the history of…Akron.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Look, fan boy it all you want. But the Cavs looked really good. Granted, the East was a train wreck & defaulted it to the Cavs. But they’re at full speed this year and scared the Warriors without Irving and Love last year.

      Whatever happens, I think it will be a very competitive series. I would imagine it will go 7 games. I still think the Warriors will win, but it’s far from a sure thing.

      • DB says:

        I think he is just worried that within the next few years, Oakland will have at best one team. The Warriors desperately want to be back in San Francisco (tried and failed multiple times now but not even the great Warriors can compete with the San Francisco NIMBYs) Raiders want to go to Vegas (after already failing to get LA). The As desperately want to go to San Jose (after Fremont failed). Even Cleveland does not have it that bad. I think then even Joe would recognize the plight of poor Oakland if the worse happens and Oakland goes from three to zero (which I do not think has ever happened before or at least in not that short a time period).

        • Rob Smith says:

          It is amazing that three major pro teams are still playing in s-holes in Oakland that have been there since, I think, the 70s…. maybe the 60s? And I remember seeing games there in the 70s for sure, and they weren’t even good places then. I was just talking to my son about this. I know the Raiders are clamoring for a new location as are the Warriors and probably the A’s. It makes a whole lot more sense to have them all down in Silicon Valley (with the 49ers) where there are actually people with money, or in San Francisco (perhaps) for the Warriors.

          • Marc Schneider says:

            I’m not sure why only people with money deserve teams. All the teams make tons of money; why don’t they build the stadiums/arenas themselves (or have the leagues do it). Instead, rich people want taxpayers in cities that can’t afford it give them shiny new toys. You are probably right; the teams will most likely move-although the A’s are restricted by MLB wanting to keep the San Jose market for the Giants. Are you telling me the Davises have not made tons of money in Oakland that they have to go to Las Vegas? Shame on these teams and owners for wanting corporate welfare. Perhaps these teams shouldn’t have located in Oakland in the first place, but now that they are there, why can’t they invest in the community rather than running out?

      • MikeN says:

        Warriors coaches were quietly worried about Irving’s injury last year, because of some defensive improvements Cavs would get as a result.

        • Rob Smith says:

          I’ll say this much. If you want to beat the Warriors you have to d-up. If you have two guys who don’t really place defense (Love & Irving) then you’re going to have breakdowns. LeBron can’t guard everyone, and as it showed last night, chasing Curry around screens all night and trying to play aggressive offensively just led to a very tired LeBron in the 4th quarter.

  4. DjangoZ says:

    “the ultimate team player in LeBron James”

    That’s an interesting way to describe LeBron…

    • Rob Smith says:

      Hmmmm. LeBron may come across as arrogant, and he is, but the guy is willing to do anything for the team to win. He’ll guard anyone on the floor, pass the ball to whoever is open, and take over the game if necessary (or not). I agree that he is the ultimate team player despite his arrogant demeanor. LeBron is great for sports hate, I get you there. But he’s still the best in the league and not in a Kobe kinda way. I’d take LeBron over Kobe any day.

  5. KHAZAD says:

    I think the Warriors are beatable, but not by the Cavs. They would be the 4th best team in the West, and would have lost in the conference semis.

  6. Andrew says:

    Joe, I think you’ll have to wait until next season. The Warriors look like they’re starting to devolve into talented individuals rather than a superlative team, but the Cavs cannot ugly it up enough to win this series.

  7. Mike Williams says:

    Joe, I think the mistake you are making is not accounting for just how much better the Western Conference is than the Eastern Conference. This is not to insult Cleveland or LeBron – but I honestly think there are three teams in the West who are clearly better: San Antonio, Golden State, and Oklahoma City.

    As for the Thunder series, kudos to them! Unbelievable run eliminating the Spurs in six and taking a truly awesome Warriors team to the brink. When we all look back at this season in a couple of weeks, we will see the true finals already happened. Cavs are a better team this year, but so are Warriors. Unlike most, I see this series going to only 5 games. Just don’t see any way the Cavs win a game in Oakland, and the Warriors will steal one in Cleveland.

  8. Jack Bartram says:

    “If Durant and Westbrook can impose their will on that Warriors defense, you would have to think that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving can do that”

    No… no, you wouldn’t. Yes, I would think that James could do what Durant can do. But Kyrie is not Westbrook. Not even particularly close.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Kyrie Irving does get the overrate. I think that had to do with his rookie season when the Cavs had nobody and Kyrie could just freelance and score a lot of points. Plus he had a lot of early endorsement deals that made him LOOK like he was already a superstar. But, when you get into a team situation with other good players, he’s not particularly good at getting the ball to the best players in position to score, he doesn’t play good defense & takes a lot of one on one forays into the paint. He’s not a BAD player, of course. But he’s pretty average when you consider all of his short comings. Yeah, he’s not in the same zip code as Russell Westbrook.

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