The dirty secret of this NBA season was it was all just a played out opening act leading up to Warriors-Cavs round 3 in June. Many fans, myself included, were generally uninterested throughout the winter as whatever was going on in Football was still considerably better than watching the Warriors and Cavs slaughter teams on TNT and ESPN. It basically seemed like the first 6 months of the season were going to be a big old waste of time and we would all just tune in come June. However, I gotta say, the NBA is pulling me back in. Here’s a quick hitter of Warriors-Cavs centric developments that have occurred fairly recently that have really added some intrigue to this season.
Kevin Love gets injured, Raptors trade for Serge Ibaka, John Wall explodes and Celtics-Jimmy Butler rumors heat up.
So the Cavs might not be such a lock anymore… The East is starting to put forth some actual competition for LeBron, and thats a pleasant surprise. With Kevin Love hurt and LBJ needing some rest from time to time its no longer a promise than the Cavs get the #1 seed, and the idea of Cleveland traveling on the road to DC, Toronto or Boston for a 7 game series is actually fairly intriguing. The Raptors starting 5 is now a serious threat to the Cavs, as the addition of Ibaka to that backcourt has to strike some fear in Tyron Lue’s heart. John Wall is playing out of his mind right now, as is backcourt mate Bradley Beal, and the Wizards suddenly look like a serious threat as well. And finally the Isaiah Thomas led Celtics are playing great basketball, and if they finally cash in those Nets picks for Jimmy Butler they could certainly give LeBron some anxiety. The East is still the Cavs to lose, but its no longer so damn boring. The Eastern Conference Playoffs could be a real fight for Cleveland.
Warriors-Thunder is the best NBA Rivalry since those Bulls-Heat showdowns.
KD’s return to OKC was the most entertaining regular season basketball game I’ve ever watched, and they beat the Thunder by 20. Russell Westbrook, Enes Kanter, Andre Roberson and company seriously don’t like Kevin Durant, and he seems more than ok playing the villain role. Yes, the general shit OKC has surrounded Russ with makes the games a lot less fun, but don’t tell me the idea of a Warriors-Thunder series doesn’t get you a little excited. Russ going for 50 a night and jawing at KD all night is as fun as it gets. Hopefully OKC can find a way to add something to this team before the deadline and give Russ a puncher’s chance against KD. The world deserves more Russell Westbrook.
The Pelicans might have just created the Warriors kryptonite
Yeah this is a stretch, I know. The Pelicans, who are currently not in the playoffs, are probably not the ones who will be taking down the Warriors, but damn it at least I’m excited to watch them try. I know good and well the Clippers, Grizzles and whoever else hasn’t changed their roster in 3 years isn’t getting the job done, so I’m excited for some fresh blood in the Western Conference. As you probably know, the Pelicans traded for Boogie Cousins, and thats legitimately exciting. The idea of an 8 seed Pelicans team with a front line of Boogie and AD taking on the Warriors is fun. Quite possibly the best two big man in basketball squaring off with a front line of Zaza and Draymond is a real recipe to beating the Warriors. Sure, their guard play will be brutal and their Wings have little hope against KD and Iggy, but I for one am really excited to watch Boogie throw Zaza around like a rag doll and AD totally dominate Draymond. Give me that every day of the week over the Rockets trying to beat the Warriors by playing exactly to their tempo, or the Clippers losing to the Warriors with the exact same core for the 10th time in a row. Imagine a Warriors playoff run of Pelicans (8), Jazz (4) and Spurs (2). That will be far more entertaining that what I imagined before the season started.