16 and No'... Cavs take game Fo'
HE'S CUT!! And it's a bad cut... Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers 'James Gang' do their best Rocky IV impression - win game IV of the NBA Finals.
No boxer ever faced the firepower Rocky did in his heavyweight career. But of all the insurmountable opponents The Italian Stallion decked, none was more iconically invincible than The Siberian Express - IVAN DRAGO. Just saying the name out loud still sends chills down your spine.
“The normal heavyweight averages 700 pounds of pressure per square inch. Drago averages 1850 pounds. So the results are quite obvious - Whatever he hits, he destroys...”
Nicoli Koloff (Drago's Manager)
The Russian was constructed in a lab; pieced together by his country's advances in body chemistry, the technology of human performance, and a questionable synthetic shot in the arm. Similar to the 73-9 Golden St team's strategy coming off its legendary collapse in the 2016 Finals. Except in their case, the shot in the arm was the free-agent signing of Kevin Durant.
KD. You know, the average utility role-player you sign in the off season to help get your team over the top. Only this role-player happened to be an 8-time All-Star, 4-time scoring title champ, and former MVP of the league. Completing Stephen A. Smith's worst nightmare - a Frankenstein-esque, NBA JAM video game on cheat mode, all-star team on crack - ready to unleash hell on anyone dumb enough to step on the court with them.
And that’s precisely what the Warriors did. They toyed around with their competition, making sure to rest players during the regular season to adequately prepare for the post.
While former 'Robin' Russell Westbrook was out in OKC messing around and getting a triple double - or 42 - 'Batman' Durant was quietly leading the Dubs to the best record in the Association with a .817 win percentage and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. But as expected, when the playoffs did finally come around, the Warriors did what we all know by now the Warriors do… they came out to play.
Steve Kerr combo-coached sharpshooting assassins breezed through the Western Conference, saving their best juice for the incumbent champs. They didn't want to just beat the Cavaliers.
They wanted to humiliate them. To sweep them, win the title in 'the land,' and hand Lebron a yellow towel on their way out of his gym to wipe down any excess champagne they might have missed from their celebration.
Has a real nice ring to it. An all-time historical kind of ring to it. A barbershop conversation between their team and the 95'-96' Chicago GOATS kind of ring to it. And the Warriors wanted it. If you read between the cheeky lines of superstar Steph, seems to me they wanted it bad...
“We always say we just want 16 wins it doesn't matter how we get there. But now that we're in the situation, why not take care of business?” -Steph Curry
The Warriors put 363 points on the scoreboard, playing cat and mouse through the first three games of the series. They pummeled a defenseless Cavaliers unit, besieging them with corner body shots to the solar plexus; uppercuts to the face. When Cleveland did try to fight back, they simply absorbed the assault like a drawbridge might resist a toothpick battering ram.
And then... with the lights nearly out, the towel poised to throw in, and the villainous 16-0 infamy set to reign -THIS happened:
The James Gang took a swing and bloodied the eye of the indomitable Russian. J R Smith with timely threes. Tristan Thompson revitalized on the glass. Kevin Love showing off his range. Kyrie being Kyrie. And of course, there was the leader of the band - Lebron James - who reminded the world with his playground, pass-to-himself, off-the-backboard, arena-exploding Playstation JAM that Golden St... IS INDEED HUMAN.
“You got him hurt bad. Now he's worried. You cut him, you hurt him - you see?! YOU SEE?! He's not a machine! He's a man!!”
Tony Burton as Tony "Duke" Evers
There's something about first blood. When an adversary looks down from their wound, sees red, and unsuspectingly... tastes it. Something in the air changes. Call it an energy shift. Momentum. Call it whatever you want. But the Warriors bled Friday night. And if there's one thing we've learned from the 80's:
Move over, Rocky. There's a new underdog champ to cheer for. The Cleveland Cavaliers, themselves, are tired and bleeding. But they're on their feet. And though Golden St may end up taking this thing in the 7 game series format, as is... imagine if they went 15 rounds.