DEFINITELY, this one’s for Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not.”
What’s that again?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the underdogs. That’s according to Las Vegas, the world’s gambling capital.
Even the much-respected Associated Press (AP)—specifically its National Basketball Association (NBA) writer Tom Withers—is saying it: Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals.
“Let’s be honest,” said Withers, “not many are giving the Cleveland Cavaliers much of a chance…. They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs.”
Wow! Withers must be a Fil-Am from the Bay Area.
But to counter that, listen to Cavs forward Kevin Love: “The whole underdog thing is funny to me.”
Same here, fellers.
They may say all the things to justify the underdog label on Cavs. But in my book, that’s gobbledygook, period.
Maybe, just maybe, the Warriors are slightly ahead due mainly to the addition of Kevin Durant, the former Thunder with a thunderous amount of baskets in almost every game that he’s fielded in.
But I insist Durant can’t be what the doctor had prescribed for the Warriors.
Simply, the antidote to Cleveland’s LeBron James has yet to be discovered.
Love said, “At the end of the day, we are defending our title. We’re trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel.”
It’s as potent a fuel as can be.
Last year, the Cavs trailed the Warriors 1-3.
Fight back was their instant fuel. Amazingly, the Cavs swept the last three games to win 4-3 and pocket their first NBA title in 52 years.
Love added, “We will use it [fuel] as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? It’s tough for me to say that is the case. I don’t feel like we’re underdogs.”
Last October Draymond Green, the suspended Warrior in last year’s Game Five, said: “[If we are given the chance again]…I plan to destroy and annihilate the Cavs.”
Countered Love eight months later, “He [Green] is a guy who said he wanted us. And he has us—starting Friday (June 2, Philippine time).
Did the Cavs want the Warriors?
AP quoted Love as saying, “Want the Warriors? They’ve been right at the top, best team in the league for three years straight now. They’ve been super-impressive…. It’s tough to say that we didn’t expect it; we knew they’d be right there.”
The Warriors being playoffs-unbeaten going to the Finals make them the first team to start 12-0 in league history.
The Cavs should have matched that feat but for LeBron James’ 11-point flameout in Game Three before Cleveland caught a 4-1 closeout against Boston in the Eastern Finals for a still impressive 11-1 playoffs mark.
Whether or not the Warriors will have their ailing Head Coach Steve Kerr coaching them or not, Cavs mentor Tyronn Lue couldn’t care less.
Lue said he is focused on two things: Durant and the championship.
“He [Durant] is doing a lot more movement, which makes it even tougher to guard after being one of the tougher scorers I’ve ever seen…. When he passes the ball he’s also relocating now…. But our goals were set at the beginning of the season, and that’s to win a championship.” Again.
In this trilogy, 2015 champion Golden State has revenge as fuel against 2016 tormentor Cleveland, whose motivation is validation of coronation.
Place your bets.
THAT’S IT Welcome home to Tony Boy J. Entienza, who is vacationing from Seattle, Washington State…. Happy birthday to Assistant Coach Dayong J. Mendoza of San Miguel Beer on June 2. Cheers for beers!
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