I’m thankful to be drowsy en route to dreamland where I can forget my body’s thirty-three-years old and tired from playing more minutes than anyone in the league and twice carrying us to playoff victories in game seven, and that almost everyone’s saying the Warriors are too good no matter what LeBron does, they’ve got four hall of famers and LeBron’s only got Kevin Love, an all star who’s not playing like one, and a bunch of role players. I won’t tolerate anyone disrespecting my guys. They’re playing in the NBA finals. That makes them good. What the hell does Las Vegas know, saying we’ve only got a thirteen percent chance to win the series?
The Warriors have beaten us two of the last three finals; we simply need to win this series to even our historic rivalry. We’d be leading two-one if Love and Kyrie Irving, our dazzling point guard, hadn’t missed the 2015 series. The following year, I trust you recall, we became the first team in history to overcome a three to one finals deficit and hoist the trophy. The Warriors may have won a record seventy-three games that season but were nervous, and Kevin Durant, then yearning for a title in Oklahoma City, was just as timid, and rushed to embrace Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and Golden State crushed us in five games. So what? That was last season. They’re no better now, but neither are we. In fact, we’re worse. J.R. Smith’s not as good and neither is Love and Kyrie’s nursing his nose and knees for the Celtics and Tristan Thompson, through still young, often talks about how battered his body is.
I’m not worried about any of that. Did you see the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics? We trailed two-zip but won four of five as I scored forty-four and forty-six and in game seven pounded my chest while amassing fifteen rebounds, nine assists, and thirty-five points in our eighty-seven to seventy-nine win. Granted, in addition to Kyrie, the Celtics played without twenty-point-guy Gordon Hayward, but they competed the whole season without him. The Celtics are also young – Jayson Tatum’s twenty, Jaylen Brown only a year older – and we got them when they were injured and inexperienced and still barely won.
Now we face the Golden State Warriors and their celebrated quartet who shoot with precision and defend like Dobermans, twice holding the high-octane Rockets in the mid-eighties and twice more in the mid-nineties. Don’t quote me, I’m dreaming now, and that’s private. But what the Warriors bring isn’t quite fair. I’ll still be stoic and make sure everyone, especially guys on the other team, understands I’m the best player on the floor. Kevin Durant earned the finals MVP last year. This year he won’t, at least not in reality. He shot just forty-six percent against Houston while I hit better than fifty-two versus the Celtics. Golden State knows I’m going to drill three-pointers and pull-up jumpers and muscular layups and drunks and grab rebounds and block shots and get my guys open shots. Will they hit enough to beat the Warriors four out of seven? No, that’s a fantasy. Curry, Thompson, and Durant will be swishing too many. If one guy’s off, the other two’ll be on. Even if two are off, one will be on and the others will still be better than my best guys. It’s damn unpleasant. I need to wake up. I can’t take watching us lose in five games like last year. They might even sweep us. No, they won’t. I’ll make sure we get at least one.
Really, I’d like to see a prime Michael Jordan take my place on the Cavaliers when they meet the Warriors. You think St. Michael would overcome superior forces? Look back at his pre-title battles against Boston and Detroit. What happened? His Bulls got hammered, yet every day I hear: MJ never lost in the finals. Fine. Give me Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, and then Pippen and Dennis Rodman, and let’s see who prevails. I’ve been to eight straight NBA finals and won three titles. Many still holler I’ve also lost five times. If you’re against me: beware. Next season I’m heading for Houston or Philadelphia where I’ll have some bad asses on my side. Either I do that or keep grinding my teeth in this nightmare.