Nearly a month into the NBA Playoffs, things seem to playing out as originally predicted. Both Cleveland and Golden State have started a resounding 8-0 in the postseason, which is the best start for a pair of teams in the history of the NBA Playoffs. The NBA’s top two teams have been scorching the nets throughout the first two series, leading the pack in both points per game and field goal percentage by a fair margin.
Cleveland in particular has been on fire since the start of the playoffs, connecting on 43-percent of their three point attempts as a team. Many speculated how the Cavs would play after staggering to the end of the regular season, but LeBron and company have been proving doubters wrong with their offensive performances.
Golden State’s and Cleveland’s dominance have many deeming the NBA to be boring. Because we know the outcome, it makes the eventual clash between one of the greatest teams (Warriors) against one of the greatest players (LeBron) somehow less interesting. Let’s take a deeper look into why the NBA Playoffs have been uninteresting.
Many point the finger at either the Cavs and Warriors being too good or at their opponents not being good at all. Cleveland and Golden State are at the heart of countless complaints and outcries about the league lacking competition. Sure, they seem to be clear-cut favorites in their respective conferences, but that doesn’t make them completely unbeatable.
Cleveland’s offensive explosion wasn’t necessarily expected, but it was never out of the realm of possibility. A team with LeBron, Kyrie, Kevin Love and a bunch of aging shooters was always going to be more geared towards a playoff run rather than the grind of the regular season. If you are a Cavs fan though, the most alarming facet will be their defense – or lack thereof. It was a problem all season long, and the Cavs haven’t shown any sign of ramping up their defensive intensity.
Bringing in guys like Kyle Korver and Deron Williams to pair with J.R. Smith, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson were moves solely based upon facing off against the Warriors, but Cleveland could suffer mightily on the defensive end because of it.
The Warriors are the strongest team on paper, boasting very few clear weaknesses across the board. However, playing against an injured Jazz and a below average Blazers team certainly allowed the Dubs to make it look a lot easier than it should have been. A match-up against a fully healthy Clippers or Jazz team in the second round would have been far more interesting.
That notion brings us to the true root of why the playoffs have been far less exciting than in seasons past – untimely injuries. Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert, Kyle Lowry, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, George Hill, Nene and Jusuf Nurkic are just a few of the names that have all missed games during this postseason. Of course, injuries are a part of the game, but that is a talented, exciting group of players that were unable to suit up for their respective teams.
Fans were robbed of potentially explosive match-ups because of these unfortunate ailments. Who wouldn’t want to see the Clippers finally face off against their bitter rival Warriors? Or at the very least, the Jazz taking on Golden State with Gobert and Hill at 100-percent. Rajon Rondo’s injury completely sucked the energy out of the Bulls-Celtics match-up. No Kyle Lowry meant no chance for the Raptors against the Cavaliers. With the Warriors and Cavs both loaded with talent, all hands must be on deck for the chance at an upset.
To be fair, even if every team was fully healthy, there was still a good chance that we would be seeing the Cavs and Warriors face off for a third straight time in the NBA Finals. It’s the most predictable, but what’s wrong with being predictable? We go and see movies all the time that we already know the ending to. Even in sports, the journey is just as important as the ending. Knowing the outcome doesn’t ruin the story, but if the story has no twists and turns, then the ending doesn’t hold any weight.
All we can hope for now is that the winner of the Celtics-Wizards series and the Spurs-Rockets series has something in store for the reigning conference champions.
Then, we can watch the trilogy we have all been waiting for.
Image Source: ClutchPoints