For a series that is 3-1 at this writing, the NBA Finals has had its moments.
Toronto is one win away from dismissing its 25-year history of frustration, including several playoff sweeps, thanks to a balanced offense and a solid defense while Golden State hangs on with a combination of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and a stitched together line-up due to injuries.
The major injury for the Warriors is to Kevin Durant, which hurts them on offense (missing 35 points per game and forcing Kawhi Leonard to spend more energy on defense) and defense (he can at least slow down Leonard). They got past the Rockets and Trail Blazers without him because those teams couldn’t match him at forward, but the Raptors have a first-rate forward.
The irony of a potential Warriors loss is that they won their first title in this current stretch by beating an injury-decimated Cleveland Cavaliers team in the 2015 finals.
There is one black mark on this finals and it involved Toronto’s Kyle Lowry being pushed by Mark Stevens, one of the Warriors limited partners, during Game 3. I think the NBA reacted well to punish Stevens with a $500,000 fine and a one-year suspension.
Here’s what I wrote last week regarding the Stanley Cup Finals, “The Stanley Cup Finals are 2-1 in favor of Boston and I’m thinking that the Bruins will probably win in six games at the most. The only thing you hear about the St. Louis Blues is that they are 1-14 to date in Stanley Cup finals and are the oldest franchise never to win the Cup.”
Well, I was wrong. The Blues now lead the Bruins 3-2 which only proves that making predictions on extended series in a weekly column is often an exercise in futility.
I’m going to devote the rest of this column to sports media cottage industries. The third definition of “cottage industry” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a limited but enthusiastically pursued activity or subject, which is easy to spot in sports journalism.
Right now, the most obvious cottage industries in the sports media are the Lakers mess and where Durant/Kyrie Irving/Leonard are going in free agency. The former isn’t going away soon but the latter should be decided in July.
See you next week with more sports. Contact Jeff Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.