Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey revealed that among all his players, it was Chris Paul who took the hardest emotional hit after their Game 7 loss in the Western Conference Finals. That's cool, I think.
It's unclear how Van Gundy's comments went over with ABC executives, given their presumed interest in having as many viewers as possible tune into the Finals, which begin Thursday and will be televised entirely by that network, but they certainly furthered his reputation for being blunt-spoken.
And ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors tonight, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, threw their hat into the ring. "At least one (year), maybe one or two seasons - me, Melo, D-Wade, CP - we can get a year in". The Warriors used one of their patented third-quarter explosions to run over the Rockets on Tuesday, winning Game 7 and finally removing Mike D'Antoni's team from their path to the National Basketball Association title.
Those odds - set by people whose livelihoods depend on being correct - make a clear statement: the Warriors shouldn't just win the title, they should coast to a championship. "Like you said, the first 50 games were a roller coaster, but to get the opportunity to be in this environment, this magnitude is something that I can't believe that happened. They were one half away from winning a championship". Regardless, this is about as weird of a postgame story as you're going to find.
"Same reaction as I've had to every last one of them this year", James said after shootaround at Madison Square Garden back in April. "We do feel we are very well-positioned to win the free-agency battle to get us over the last hump". Golden State should still have too much for Cleveland even without Igoudala, but his absence could make life marginally easier for the Cavs' offense. "Distraught I'd say. But he will be back and ready to go". Not everybody from this team will probably be back for the higher thing.
The exhausted Rockets got creamed in the second half of their last two games.
However, as Van Gundy noted, the Finals will feature plenty of star power, which should be enough to ensure viewer interest, even if the series turns out to be as lopsided as many expect.
King James stands in the way of a Warriors repeat, just as he did in spoiling that quest for Golden State and leading the Cavs to a championship two years ago with a Game 7 win on the Warriors' home court, where they have now won 17 of the last 18 postseason games.
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