NBA: East vs West [POLL]
We’re getting close to deciding who will be an All-Star and have the honor of representing their conference in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game from Toronto on February 16th. But this conversation isn’t about the East versus the West in the All-Star Game, it’s about East versus West in the NBA Finals. Last night we had part two of what is most likely going to be a preview of the 2016 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. If that does hold true, I’m not looking forward to it.
The Warriors absolutely destroyed the Cavs on their home floor Monday night. The final score was 132-98. The game was so out of hand early on, the Cavs bench ended up playing more minutes than the starters. The halftime score was 70-44. The Warriors shot 54% from the field and hit as many three’s as the Cavs took, 19. Steph Curry and crew frustrated LeBron and the Cavs all night long. At one point, Steph picked LeBron’s pocket clean and soared coast-to-coast for the layup. The Warriors had 17 fast break points to the Cavs 2. Curry led all players in scoring with 35 in 28 minutes of play.
Every single Warrior on the roster scored on Monday night, five players scored double digits. Curry hit seven three’s and the largest lead of the game was 43 points. As the top two teams in their respective conferences, this was supposed to be a revenge game for Cleveland who dropped the Christmas Day game in Oakland 89-83. However, as the top two teams in each conference, Monday night’s result doesn’t bode well for anyone hoping to see an exciting, competitive NBA Finals in 2016.
I know this seems like a complete overreaction to what is only one regular season game. I am usually the first one saying let’s not overreact to one game. But in this case, what if that is indeed the case? What if the Western Conference is far superior to the Eastern Conference this year? Cleveland is now 28-11 and just got Kyrie back a couple of weeks ago. It would only be fair to hold off judgement on the Cavs until they get acclimated to playing together for a while. Even with a completely healthy Cavs team, clicking on all cylinders, do they stand a chance against Golden State in a seven game series?
And lets not forget about San Antonio. As remarkable as the Warriors run has been this season, the Spurs are only two games off their mark. Cleveland also dropped their only contest with the Spurs so far this year, 99-95 in San Antonio five days ago. Cleveland is 19-6 against the Eastern Conference, and 9-5 against the West.
If you haven’t figured out where I’m going with this, let me pose the question. Would the NBA be better served by eliminating the East vs West format in the playoffs? I myself am a traditionalist. I would not be in favor of a move like this, even though you may see more competitive basketball in the playoffs and the finals. This year is a perfect time to raise this question once again. If last night’s result in Cleveland was even close to being what we can expect out of a finals matchup between the league’s top dogs in each conference, then you might as well crown whoever wins the Western Conference Finals this year.
In my view, there are only three teams with a chance to win the NBA Championship this year…Golden State, San Antonio, and Cleveland. Golden State is on track for a 74-8 season, while San Antonio is right there, on pace for 70-12. That is two all-time great NBA teams and records. Shouldn’t that be who plays in the NBA Finals? Could you imagine the ratings for a series like that? But as it stands, in my opinion, whoever wins the Western Conference Finals is your 2016 NBA Champion. The rest is simply a formality.
Brandon Reid covers the NBA for MyFantasySportsTalk.com and you can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid
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You can follow Brandon on Twitter @New_Breid