If you’re a fan of the New England Patriots or Boston Celtics – which I have been my entire life – you certainly know the importance of the word “team.”
Team basketball, which was a major cog of the success of the 1985-86 Celtics, arguably the best team in NBA history, is a vital organ that has the Golden State Warriors one win away from cementing themselves among the all-time great NBA clubs.
The Warriors showed a Patriots-like championship prowess Friday night in taking Game 4 of the NBA Finals from the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-97.
Just a couple nights prior to Friday, the Warriors had been run out of Quicken Loans Arena, 120-90. Much like the way the NFL’s reigning dynasty was spanked all around Arrowhead Stadium in Week 4 of the 2014 season. We all know what happened after that.
Golden State, frankly, looked soft in Game 3. They let a team they are much superior than back in the series, and gave them a chance to tie it on their home court on Friday. But if there’s one thing about champions, they are quick to respond.
The Splash Brothers finally started playing like the superstars they are. Steph Curry showed why he was the league’s unanimous MVP, erupting for 38 points, while backcourt mate Klay Thompson had 25. Friday marked the first time either of those guys had broken 20 points in the Finals.
While Golden State’s role players – Draymond Green, Andre Igoudala and Harrison Barnes, among them – have been vital to the Warriors’ success in the Finals, the team’s superstars needed to step up. And they showed why they have one of the best backcourts in the history of the NBA. In Patriot-like fashion, they put Wednesday’s blowout behind them immediately, and went out and put the Cavaliers away late with a business-like approach that would make Bill Belichick smile.
Should the Warriors take care of business in Monday’s Game 5, they will join the 1985-86 Celtics and 1995-96 Bulls in the category of some of the best teams in NBA history. I still say those Larry Bird-led Celtics are the greatest team ever, while the Bulls had the best player to ever play the game, but Golden State deserves to be mentioned with those great teams.
As for the Cavaliers, their failing to show up in the fourth quarter is the same movie Cleveland fans have been viewing for more than a half-century. They’ve come to expect it. Cleveland’s superstar, LeBron James, again showed why he doesn’t have that fourth-quarter killer instinct that guys like Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson had. For all the talent James has, he just doesn’t have that instinct to take over a game late, and will his team to the finish line.
Sorry, Cleveland fans, but the “hat and T-shirt” drought is going to continue for another year. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Chicago Cubs will end their century-plus long drought before a championship parade rolls down the shores of Lake Erie.