Philippine Daily Inquirer

Superman LeBron in Warriors’ way


Paraphrasi­ng a church proverb, sportswrit­er Arman Armero capsulized the ongoing tetralogy for the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Sa hinaba-haba ng prusisyon, sa Cavs-Warriors din ang tuloy..., (No matter how long, the procession led to a Cavs-Warriors encounter after all),” Armero posted on Facebook.

The Warriors escaped the Houston Rockets in a sevengame gauntlet in the West Finals.

The Cavs staved off eliminatio­n in as many games, defeating the Boston Celtics in the East to arrange a match up predicted by many people prior to the playoffs.

Despite the detours, the Warriors and the Cavs are facing each other for the fourth consecutiv­e year for possession of the Larry O’Brien trophy.

A championsh­ip between the same two teams for four years in a row boggles the mind and is the first ever in American profession­al sports history.

As I write this, the first stop of the procession ended at Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California, where the defending champions Warriors survived in overtime with a troubling 124-114 victory in Game 1 last Thursday.

Las Vegas odds makers and Joe Sixpacks alike had called the best-of-seven series one of the largest mismatches in the annals of the NBA in favor of the vaunted Warriors.

But then they barely escaped at home due to the combined 45 points from Kevin Du- rant and Stephen Curry, a questionab­le referee’s call in regulation and despite the superhuman effort of LeBron James, who had 51 points—nearly half of the Cavs’ total output.

James kept carrying the Cavaliers back into the game, and if not for George Hill missing the second of his two free throws ticks away from the end of regulation, the game could have been both a monumental upset and lift for the underdogs.

A towering presence on both sides of the court, James played for 48 minutes. Aside from his personal playoff scoring high, he also hauled down eight rebounds and logged eight assists to go with his eighth game of the post- season scoring 40 or more points.

The Cavaliers will try to even the series at Oracle Sunday (Monday in Manila) before the Finals shift to their home court—Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland—for two games beginning on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).

Warriors fans, including the diehards among the more than 260,000 Filipinos in the Bay Area, are aware of the Cavaliers’ patchwork lineup that includes Jordan Clarkson, who has Filipino roots.

But they are not treating the Cavs lightly, what with King James, the world’s best basketball player, standing in their team’s way for the remainder of the Finals schedule.

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