Cavs-Warriors is this Generation’s Celtics-Lakers, and that’s a great thing


Image result for cavs warriors game 7
The Cavs-Warriors rivalry is similar to the Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 1980s Courtesy: http://www.cnbc.com

My father grew up in the 1980s, when hip-hop was on the rise and disco was slowly beginning to fade.

And the NBA was beginning to flourish.

While his father rooted for the Boston Celtics, composed of Hall of Famers in Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and the late Dennis Johnson, my dad, great-uncle and the rest of the family rooted for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Celtics were gritty, hard-nosed. And the Lakers were “Showtime,” flying up and down the floor with Magic Johnson throwing no-look passes to teammates such as James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The Celtics and Lakers met three times in the NBA Finals during the ’80s, with the Lakers winning two titles to the Celtics’ one. Aside from the rivalry, though, another stat was more important: Throughout the decade, either the Celtics or the Lakers made an appearance on the NBA’s biggest stage.

The Celtics-Lakers rivalry ignited the NBA, and the league hasn’t looked back. Now, though, the league looks poised to begin another golden age.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers throttling the Celtics 135-102 on Thursday in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they advanced to the NBA Finals and will play the Golden State Warriors.

The NBA will have its first Finals trilogy in league history.

The Warriors have been waiting for revenge, after blowing a 3-1 lead in last year’s Finals. And the Cavs are prepared to defend the throne. It’s a rivalry that needs to be appreciated.

Because even though the Cavs-Warriors rivalry is similar to the Celtics-Lakers battles of the ’80s, sports fans likely won’t see something of this magnitude again.

Despite this year’s NBA Finals historic nature, fans have lamented over the league’s lack of competition, especially in the postseason. The Warriors got to the Finals smoothly, entering them at 12-0. And aside from a hiccup in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs are entering the Finals unscathed at 12-1.

My father fell in love with the NBA in the ‘80s, and I’ve been in love with the league since I was 10. He’s seen the original movie before, but myself and the rest of my generation are receiving a remake that is perhaps better than the original.

The Warriors are the league’s sweethearts, yet they are also the league’s villains. The team’s fans love to see 3-pointers launched at will, and the team’s haters despise those same 3-pointers that are sometimes made from well beyond the 3-point line.

Already boasting a tough trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors added Kevin Durant, too, boosting their mystique. But harken back to the ’80s, and you’ll see a mirror image.

The Lakers and the Celtics had at least three stars in their respective starting lineups. Magic, Abdul-Jabbar, Worthy, Scott and Michael Cooper highlighted the Lakers. Dennis, Bird, McHale and Robert Parish headlined the Celtics.

Yes, the Warriors are stacked. They’re like the boss character on a videogame, a character that seems impossible to defeat.

But the Cavs are more than capable of competing against perhaps the league’s best team.

The Cavs have LeBron James, who sealed his spot Thursday as the NBA’s all-time points leader in the playoffs. James surpassed Michael Jordan, and the accomplishment is just one more thing to add to his journey of overtaking Jordan as the best player ever.

Add Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and a solid bench to the mix, and the Finals is set to be epic again.

As the Cavs finished defeating the Celtics, my father and I sat on the couch, watching in awe. He began to talk about those old Celtics squads, even the ones composed of legendary players such as Sam Jones, Bill Russell and John Havlicek. These were players his father cheered for, along with the ’80s Celtics.

My father wanted the Showtime Lakers to prevail in the ‘80s, but in 2017, there is no opposition between father and son. We both love the Cavs.

But somewhere, perhaps another father-son duo is already beginning their heated arguments about these two teams that have captivated NBA fans for the past three years.

Andrew Bogut’s Injury is Unfortunate, But The Cavs Never Really Needed Him


Cleveland Cavaliers’ Andrew Bogut warms up before an NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Monday, March 6, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
http://www.si.com/nba/2017/03/06/andrew-bogut-cleveland-cavaliers-leg-injury-news

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title last season without a legitimate rim protector. Standing at 7 feet 1 inches, Timofey Mozgov was not an effective big man. LeBron James, the quintessential positionless player, led the Cavs with 16 blocks during the Finals.

Mozgov, the Cavs’ tallest player last season, was borderline useless, not being able to run the floor well for dunks or succeed in the pick and roll. He averaged five minutes per game in the Finals for a reason.

So, why did the Cavs feel as though they needed to bring in Andrew Bogut?

Bogut earned a buyout with the Philadelphia 76ers after being traded from the Dallas Mavericks. The Cavs picked him up, and he made his debut Monday night against the Miami Heat.

But not even playing a minute, Bogut fractured his left tibia, his leg colliding with Heat forward Okaro White. Bogut will be out indefinitely.

James spoke about Bogut’s injury, saying that the Cavs were excited about adding Bogut to the roster. The Cavs were justified in being excited about their addition; adding a player of Bogut’s size is never a bad thing.

But the addition wasn’t necessary.

Despite Bogut’s unfortunate injury, the Cavs have big men. Not all of them are healthy, but even so, it’s the regular season; the Cavs don’t need all their big men right now. Tristan Thompson grabs rebounds, Channing Frye stretches the floor, and at 6 feet 11 inches, Frye can at least provide a big body. Kevin Love, the Cavs’ best big, has been out with a left knee injury since February.

Though Love is out, the Cavs (42-20) are the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics are three games out of first place, and guard Isaiah Thomas hasn’t liked the team’s “experimenting” lately.

The Celtics are the only team in the Eastern Conference that has a legitimate chance of dethroning the Cavs — and their chance isn’t even that high, with Thomas being the Celtics’ lone option on offense.

Along with Love, the Cavs are waiting for J.R. Smith to return. Smith suffered a thumb injury in December 2016, but the Cavs are hopeful he can return soon.

When Love and Smith return, the Cavs will have returned, too. For the Cavs, a team that has suffered injuries throughout the season, will be in position to win their second straight title with the team at full strength.

The Cavs will have James — with him alone, anything is possible. But on top of that, they will have Kyrie Irving, Love and a bench that will perhaps be one of the best in the NBA. Frye, Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver and Deron Williams will be part of a second unit that will help maintain the starters’ success.

Sure, the addition of Bogut was nice. But it was like buying an Xbox One when you already had a PlayStation 4. Bogut wouldn’t have been that much of a difference maker.