By: Jeffrey Newholm
Over the past few years, it seems the Warriors have the Cavs’ number. In fact, the dubs own a 13,000-6 advantage over Cleveland. Actually, that’s the Globetrotter’s record against the straight men Washington Generals. But considering how few experts think the Cavs can win in Act IV of this rivalry, it may as well be a scripted match. How can a team with just LeBron (sorry, J.R. Smith and George Hill) beat one with KD, Steph, Klay, and Draymond Green? The old rhetorical question comes to mind: would you watch a movie if you knew the ending? Yes, as a matter of fact, we would and do.
What does it mean to say a team is great? It really means that it’s greater than other teams. Sports, more than any other field, is about comparisons. So the Warriors are a great team, because they’re greater than other contemporary teams. But specifically they’re greater than the Cavs, a very good team in its own right. The core four, or Hampton Five, isn’t just good, it’s specifically better than the game’s best player and modest support. And that’s an important distinction that makes a key contextual difference.
Who can forget the Red Sox’s 3-0 comeback in the playoffs against the Kansas City Royals? The Royals lost over 100 games that year though, so it wasn’t too hard for the Sox to win four straight. Sound a bit odd? What makes the breaking of the curse of the bambino so impressive was Boston’s comeback came against the same hated Yankees, defending AL champs and 26 time world’s champs. That’s why a Warriors-Celtics or Raptors series wouldn’t be the same. The Celtics and Raptors have little name power and would amount to mere footnotes. Beating the game’s best player is a feat the distracted Warriors would have to focus to accomplish.
Of course, the Cavs definitely have a chance to sink the unsinkable west coast yacht. But Vegas thinks otherwise, with gamblers needing to bet $1,100 on Golden State just to win $100, odds seemingly not seen since 49ers-Broncos. But ratings, highest the past three years since 2004, will still be very strong. Because we all know the sun will set in the west, but sit at the balcony anyways. We know the Orcs will get mowed down in The Two Towers but still pop in the DVD, even the director’s cut. Because sometimes in life we have a hunch of a good show’s contrived happy ending, and still watch. And if it works for Disney and the Globetrotters, there’s surely nothing wrong with it for NBA fans.