The Utah Jazz have long been eliminated from the postseason, but fans still have reasons to tune in to the third consecutive NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
Have the NBA playoffs been hijacked by super teams? This has been the biggest story line of the NBA playoffs, rather than the actual performances of teams and players.
The Golden State Warriors swept their way to the NBA Finals unscathed, making quick work of the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs (although it’s debatable that if Kawhi Leonard didn’t re-aggravate his sprained ankle off a questionable closeout by Zaza Pachulia in Game 1, the Spurs could have challenged Golden State).
The Cleveland Cavaliers almost swept their way to the NBA Finals with no losses, but came up short in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals (which if you ask me, Al Horford totally set a moving screen to free up Avery Bradley’s game winning shot). There was the excuse that LeBron James was sick that game according to teammate Richard Jefferson, but nonetheless the Cavs had little trouble advancing to the NBA Finals as Eastern Conference Champions.
Is this a problem, having a huge drop-off in hierarchy of talent among the 30 NBA teams? It is definitely tiresome for fans to watch Cavaliers-Warriors part three, especially when we practically knew this was coming since preseason, and especially since there were no real challengers to dethrone either team throughout the playoffs.
It’s up to the NBA to decide if this is a problem that needs more work under the CBA, but rather than stressing about it, we as fans should enjoy watching the Finals, starting this tonight at 7 p.m. Mountain Time on ABC. And even if you’re just a Jazz fan that doesn’t care about Cleveland or Golden State, here are five storylines to keep an eye on in this year’s NBA Finals.