Lebron James wanted Toronto to know that this is his throne and he wants the NBA title. By the end of the game, the score read 108-89 and that may mean futility for these Raptors if they can’t find an answer to beat the Cavaliers. It was a balanced effort for the Cavs as they led an offensive attack headed by James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. Cleveland is unstoppable when they get their scoring going. They will be dangerous to stop when they reach the 2016 NBA Finals.
Cleveland won Game 1 against the Toronto Raptors 115-84 in a thumping that showed that Lebron James won’t be denied another trip to the NBA Finals. James showed trust in his teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to make shots and make the right play and they did. In the Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder showed the Golden State Warriors who was making the big shots down the stretch. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant showed the Dubs that they want the NBA title too. In the Thunder’s 108-102 Game 1 win, OKC wanted even more to show the Warriors how much they want to win the eventual series opener. They did. Now it’s on to Game 2.
The Golden State Warriors are the 2015 NBA champions and they did it by beating Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers four times in a best of seven game series. Steve Kerr’s Warriors are the golden standard of playing basketball. If only our representatives at the U.S. Men’s National Basketball team at the Olympic Games could do that feat of what the Golden State Warriors did. 80% of life is showing up, and these Warriors did do that. The Cleveland Cavaliers resigned Kevin Love to a multi-year deal and the New Orleans Pelicans inked Anthony Davis to a five-year extension. The Toronto Raptors signed DeMarre Carroll away from the Atlanta Hawks for a four year, $60 million deal and the San Antonio Spurs signed Danny Green to a 45 million dollar deal for four years.
The Chicago Bulls took care of business with Cleveland in Game 1, winning it 99-92. Derrick Rose led the way and Pau Gasol was behind him. Cleveland is without Kevin Love and J.R. Smith. It hurt them. That’s why the Cavaliers lost the game. The L.A. Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 117-101 and they were fresh off their Game 7 victory over San Antonio plus they did win Game 1 with Houston without their star point guard Chris Paul. The Atlanta Hawks bounced back from their Game 1 loss with a Game 2 victory with the Washington Wizards. If the Hawks can withstand a Wizards half-court offense with Marcin Gortat and Nene and play up-tempo basketball, they will have a chance to win the series. Otherwise, a low-post presence will hurt these smaller Hawks players. In Game 1 between the Wizards and the Hawks, the Wizards dominated because they had size and height over Atlanta. The Memphis Grizzlies also bounced back to beat the Golden State Warriors and will go to Memphis with the series tied at one game apiece. In Game 1, the Warriors were playing perfect basketball and in Game 2, the emergence of Mike Conley came back and helped Memphis regain control of the basketball game and the series.
Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and Lebron James are forming a super-team in Cleveland and they’re hoping their superstar power will help the Cavs reach the NBA Finals and win an NBA title. Do they have obstacles? Chemistry issues? Things will work out in Cleveland with them with David Blatt as head coach. I don’t think the problems will be serious, but eventually things will work out.
Kevin Love is a prototypical high-low basketball player who can run up and down the court and with his perimeter shooting and picks, he’ll be tough to defend with Lebron James there with the Cavs. James Jones and Mike Miller joined Lebron James in Cleveland, so expect picking up Jones and Miller with open three-pointers when James and Love are double-teamed. I can see free agent Ray Allen joining Cleveland now.
The Minnesota Timberwolves get Andrei Kirilenko? This is a big day for the T-Wolves. They’ll get a defensive player who will help them stop the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer. They also added Greg Stiemsma, an interior big man who will help Minnesota play tough defense and get those pesky rebounds. Brandon Roy is back in a big way for the T-Wolves and hopefulyl he’ll get back to where he started. Expect another big year from Kevin Love.
So the New Orleans Hornets are rebuilding behind Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers. Getting rid of Chris Paul and sending him to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers was a big deal for them. They got nothing in return for sending CP3 away and will play for nothing in return.
The Knicks will look good on paper with defensive additions with Marcus Camby and Ronnie Brewer and the arrival of Jason Kidd. But New York won’t play any better because of team chemistry. This is a crowded roster that needs time for its starting five and bench to jell and learn how to play together.
The only time OKC will see its championship trophy every time they get to play in the NBA Finals is if they will get to play angry and with a purpose. It will start with Kevin Durant and end with his offensive and defensive repertoires. If Durant gets more muscles and I mean more muscles, get to the weights in the gym and get stronger he will be a force to be reckoned with. His length will be hard to guard.
So the Orlando Magic start over without Dwight Howard. This will be interesting considering that they have new personnel in management and in head coaching status. Expect the Magic to do terrible things because they don’t have a Dwight Howard anymore. On the good side, expect Arron Affalo and Al Harrington pick up the slack.
The Philadelphia Sixers get Andrew Bynum. This should be an exciting time for the Sixers. Bynum should be able to pick up where he left off when he was with the Lakers. I really expect Bynum to make a bigger impact in Philly now. They’ll expect more out of him, but how much can Bynum develop as more time passes by?