POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ – While celebrating the first day of summer laying along the Jersey Shore, I gave great thought to the hyperbole from the mouth of Eyewitness News’ Anthony Johnson during his Sunday night sportscast. Clearly a weekend substitute, he stated that that night’s NBA Game 7 was “…one of the greatest NBA finals games ever!” Say what?!? This is what happens when people get caught up in the maelstrom of a city known for losing on the cusp of NBA Finals history along with the extraordinary play of one of the NBA’s greatest players, LeBron James. Sorry. Contrary to what DJ Eberle will have you believe, LBJ is not the greatest of all-time. GOAT players make others around them better and I just don’t see that in his game – but he is one of the best one-on-one players of all-time. It was a superhuman effort but doesn’t automatically make him the GOAT nor does he automatically make the Game 7 one of the best ever.
How the greatest regular season Warriors lost? Unanimous regular season MVP Steph Curry had a John Starks-like shooting night at 6-for-19 and 4-for-14 from his trademark three-point range. Downright bricks can only describe a few of Curry’s 4th quarter heaves. Klay Thompson was just as ineffective on the scoring sheet. Golden State went the final 4:39 of the game without a point and if you can’t score in crunch time of the last game of the season, it’s called a choke job. Sorry, Angry Ward, but I’m just calling a spade a spade here.
How the greatest Finals comeback Cavs won? James stats erased a huge effort by Draymond Green on the other side of the court. The critical 4th quarter sequence, when it seemed neither team wanted to win, and the score was frozen at 89 for what seemed like forever then became dotted with a few hugely timely plays by the Cavs. The James plastering of Andre Iguodala’s attempted layup on the glass was only huge because of the subsequent Warrior misses from the field. Kyrie Erving’s winning three-pointer ended the scoring ineptness and felt like a ten-point play and that was that. Tyronn Lue is a now a championship winning coach. Hehe.
The game reminded me of the 1983 NCAA Tournament Final between Houston and NC State. One team, the Wolfpack, faced similar long underdog odds against an offensive juggernaut that loved to dunk whenever possible. The game ended on NC State’s Lorenzo Charles’ ironic dunk as he who lived by the sword died by the sword much like the Cavs burying a Warriors staple three-pointer when it counted most.
Some questions I have swirling around my head and I know I’m not the only one. Was former NBA ref Tim Donaghy correct in saying these 2016 Finals were scripted? Is there truth to his comments the same way we scoffed at Canseco’s salacious steroid accusations only to find them to be gospel? Did the league want the Cavs to win? See disproportion of free throws the Cavs took and made (21-25) compared to their opponent (10-13). Doesn’t the home team, albeit Golden State is a long range shooting team, usually get these advantages? Weigh in on the comments if you can answer some of these questions.