(WINDSOR, ON) The Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyrone Lue took the high road after being swept out of the finals in a 104-85 game 4 loss at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
Rather than lament the tough loss Lue also described it as a very successful season wherein the team took a step forward by affording some of the inexperienced new players some much needed play-off experience; and the experienced new vets an opportunity to play in a finals series.
Last year it took the Warriors 5 games to dispell of their chief rival, but this year it was clearly much easier for them as the Warriors appeared more talented and poised, and the Cavs appeared less talented out of synch.
Although these two teams met for the 4th time straight in the championship series, Warriors (58-24) head coach Steve Kerr conceded that neither team look like they were going even make it to the finals as the Warriors lost 10 or their last regular season games and were facing a 3-2 deficit to the Houston Rockets in the Western conference final.
Likewise the Cavs (50-32) were down 3-2 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, that resulted in Kyrie Irving out on injury reserve for the rest of the playoffs and Kevin Lowe was out on concussion protocol just prior to the final series. That on a roster full of new guys who barely played with eachother most of the season.
Asked if he was frustrated by the moment of turn over on the Cleveland roster, and whether or not this factor in losing the championship would affect his decision to seek a trade in the post season, James conceded the lack of team cohesion was definitely a factor in the losing the series.
But he reserved the right to consider the affect leaving Cleveland would have on his family and franchise stakeholders before making that type of a decision.
” I’d love to play with LeBron for the rest of my career; but I respect that he along gets to make that decision” said Cavs power forward Kevin Lowe at the prospect of James not returning. “As for this series however, not having a good 3rd quarter has been our achilles heel all season; and they were sensational in the 3rd each game – so getting swept, especially on our home floor is not a good feeling”
Accordingly as the Warriors feat of now winning the 3rd championship in 4 years the post season game talk quickly turned to them being the new NBA dynasty. While coach Kerr, whom now has 3 championship rings as a coach, and 5 NBA championship rings as a player (as a shooting guard with the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls) is a great judge of whether the dynasty label fits, he also aware of the statistics that challenge that claim.
Namely this current Warriors’ ring puts them in a tie for 3rd with the bulls for 6 all time NBA titles, compared to an astounding 17 titles by Boston and 16 titles by the Los Angeles Lakers. Of note Lebron’s current championship loss ties him with Jordan with 6 finals losses.
On the individual winning side on this occasion Kevin Durant was awarded the Bill Russell MVP play-off award for the 2nd straight season, after finishing the game with is first career playoff triple – double: comprised of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. A result that compelled James to acknowledge Durant as one of the most talented he has ever faced, and one of the greatest to have ever played the game.
Durant’s teammate Stephen Curry was also in contention for series MVP for the 2nd time, but had a relatively dismal scoring game in game 3 – after setting a scoring a record 9 tres from downtown in game 3.
“King” James was also in contention for MVP as he averaged 34 points and nearly a triple double throughout the 4 games.
Whether James decides to return to Cleveland next season or not he certainly does not owe the franchise, the Cleveland fans, nor the city of Cleveland anything. Delivering them to the national championship series for 4 straight years and bringing them home the Championship trophy 2 years ago for their the first time in their 50 year history ~.