THE GAME: Warriors vs Cavs (Game 4)
It's sobering to look back on how wrong you can be.
I thought Albert Pujols was going to make the Angels a perennial contender for at least three or four years. My freshman year of college, I had a Grateful Dead poster on my dorm room wall. I thought Panda Express was delicious. I thought bowling was fun. I once willingly moved to New York City. I paid money to see Independence Day: Resurgence. I was in Montana and decided to skip Glacier National Park to attend "Evel Knievel Week" in Butte.
Do you see what I'm getting at here?
I've been wrong many, many times.
And I thought this was going to be a good series.
Game 3 had some exciting moments down the stretch, but the Cavs still lost. Just like they did in Games 1 & 2, though not nearly as badly.
So now we arrive at Game 4. Will LeBron really allow the Cavs to be swept in the Finals for the second time in a decade?
And if he does, will it put to rest this business about LeBron being better than Michael Jordan?
(Probably not. People are idiots - just this morning, Rashad McCants was on The Herd claiming that Kobe Bryant was better than Jordan and LeBron is barely Top 10.)
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- Stubbs now makes a BBQ sauce with Dr Pepper. I love Dr Pepper.
- Did you know there is no period after the "Dr" in Dr Pepper? If not, you do now.
- I sliced a vidalia onion and placed it in the bottom of the slow cooker, dropped a pork butt on top, and then poured in a can of Dr Pepper. It has to be the Wonder Woman can or the recipe won't work.
- That's not true, obviously.
- Nine hours later, I removed the pork, shredded it, and removed the little fat that was remaining.
- I drained the slow cooker, returned the pork, and added half the bottle of sauce.
- 90 minutes later, I put a handful of the pork on a brioche bun, topped it with store-bought cole slaw, and ate it with shoestring fries.
- It was a wonderful summer meal. I know it's not technically summer yet, but it sure feels like it.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- In the pregame show, Chauncey Billups said "If [LeBron] gets swept in the Finals again, you can take him out of the MJ conversation." Paul Pierce replied "I never had him in it to begin with." It's good to see a couple of NBA Finals MVPs know what they're talking about. (Contrasted with 32-year-old McCants, who hasn't been able to find a job in the NBA in eight years.)
- At tipoff, the crowd is not 1/10 as fired up as they were Wednesday night. They probably realize it would take a miracle to win this series.
- No team has ever come back from being down 3-0 in any NBA playoff series, let alone the Finals. But then again, no team had ever come back from being down 3-1 in the Finals before Cleveland did it last year.
- Tristan Thompson just blew a 3-foot shot. So far in the Finals he is averaging 8 points - wait, my bad, he has scored 8 points total. In 3 games. Jesus, I almost feel bad for him. Or I would if he wasn't banging a Kardashian.
- Two minutes after I wrote that, Jeff Van Gundy started talking about how stupid "the Kardashian Curse" is and that people should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting it exists. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. An ABC announcer is defending the Kardashians on live TV during an NBA Finals game. We should all feel ashamed for saying anything bad about a family that became famous for releasing a sex tape.
- Cleveland is up by 16 points and the Warriors don't look the slightest bit concerned.
- That was the longest 1st quarter I remember in quite a while. Cleveland put up 49 points - the most in a quarter in Finals history - despite missing 8 free throws.
- LeBron is starting the 2nd quarter on the bench. The Cavs are -20 in the Finals when he's off the court.
- Cleveland is hitting their shots and now they're up by 20. Golden State is starting to look like they're thinking Okay, these guys aren't letting up.
- Steph Curry is 1-7. He better heat up soon or this series is headed back to Oakland.
- On the flip side, Kyrie is 10-12 for 25 points. He is something to watch when he's on.
- They showed Dwyane Wade in the crowd and it took me ten seconds to realize who it was. I thought I know who that is... but damn, I just can't place it. In my defense, this is what he's looking like tonight:
- Cleveland ends the first half with 86 points. That's not a misprint. I haven't been drinking. 86 points in the first half.
- But hey, the Angels are beating the Astros 8-2 at the moment. It's one of those nights for the unexpected.
- LeBron is an amazing player. I think he's the second-greatest player of all time. But it does annoy me the way he front-runs. Dancing around, throwing behind-the-back-passes... he is a completely different player when his team is up by 20. I don't dislike him, but I totally get why lots of people do.
- Okay, no joke, I swear on Mike Trout's life, I wrote those sentences and less than five seconds later, LeBron threw the ball off the backboard to himself and dunked it. If he consistently played with the brilliance he does when his team is up 20, there would be no doubt about him being the greatest player of all time.
- LeBron and KD are jawing at each other. I love it. It took three-and-a-half games, but now it's getting really good. I hope Cleveland hangs on - I mean, the lead is 19 at this point - because I really want to see another game.
- Draymond Green picked up his second technical of the game and yet wasn't ejected because the refs retroactively changed a technical foul from the first half. WTF? I'm not sure I've ever seen that before. I didn't even know they could do that.
- "That's not a good look for the NBA," reports Jeff Van Gundy. No, Jeff, it's not. This officiating is atrocious tonight and I think there's a 50% chance they just made something up on the spot... but I think we can all agree that the main problem in the NBA today is Kardashian-shaming, right?
- Everyone in America gets a free taco from Taco Bell on Tuesday. They've been doing promotions like this since 2002. Have any of you ever taken advantage? In fact, have any of you ever known anyone who has taken advantage? I have not.
- I ducked into the kitchen to get a drink of water when I heard the announcer say that some of the Golden State players were "getting into it" with some of the fans. My level of surprise to return to the TV and see that it was Matt Barnes? Zero.
- LeBron starts the 4th quarter on the bench and Golden State immediately scores 6 points. They show LeBron and he has a look on his face like Screw this, I'm going to the Lakers at the first chance I get. Although to be perfectly honest with you, that might just be my interpretation of it.
- The Warriors cut it to 11, then Kyrie scored 5 in a row. It's now a 16-point Cavs lead with 9 minutes to play. I'm not sure if Golden State has another run in them.
- In Game 3, the Warriors had 40 points in transition. Tonight, they have 7. Steph is 4-12 and the team is only shooting 70% from the free throw line. It is not their night in any way.
- Most of the starters are on the bench now and Cleveland has it in the bag. I am impressed by how they came out and just handled the Warriors tonight.
- If they could have just closed out Game 3, this series would be much, much different.
- Game 5 will be Monday night. Why do they do that? For years, Finals games were only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Whose idea was it to start playing games on Friday and Monday?
- Can Cleveland win a game in Oakland? They have the best player in the world, so yes, they can. Can they win three more games in a row? It's never been done before. But you can say that about anything until it's done for the first time.