The Trilogy is Completed

                 As we all know, Golden State and Cleveland in the NBA Finals for the third straight year. So, it’s now three straight years of Steph vs Kyrie, three years of Lebron vs Klay and three years of Love vs Green. The big difference is Kevin Durant who left Oklahoma City for Golden State in hopes of winning his first title. Golden State showed the sports world they were not playing around with the addition of Durant. So, this budding rivalry could become a mainstay in the Championship series the same way that the Celtics and Lakers were throughout the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

        cavsvswar2        This rivalry has already managed to do something that no other rivalry or match up in NBA Finals has done, and that is appear in three straight Finals against each other. Teams have met in back-to-back finals 13 times including the first two match ups of Cleveland and Golden State. In every back to back Finals match up, the team that lost the previous match-up is 7-6 in the next match up. If you take that serious then, history is more on Golden State’s side than it is Cleveland.

                After the 113-91 thrashing that the Warriors gave the Cavs in game 1 on Thursday night, it looks as if history is truly on the Warriors side and they may be cavsvswar4able to pull out a championship by the end of this. I know that its only one game, it’s too early to tell and anything could happen, but if you look at how the Cavs played, that was their worst game this postseason and their worst game since they lost to the Clippers 108-78 back on March 18th.

             canvsdet   From an article by USA Today, this is the fourth time in all major US sports leagues that a trilogy has happened and the first in more than sixty years. The last trilogy was in the NHL where the Canadiens and Red wings matched up in the Stanley Cup Finals in ’54, ’55, and ’56. Looking through the eras in basketball, it is really surprising that there nflhas never been a trilogy before today with how many dynasties and rivalries there were, from all of the legendary Celtics and Lakers match ups, to the Lakers and Pistons in the ‘80s, to every other star-studded match up.

                In the trilogy for the Canadiens and Red wings, the Red wings wound up winning two out of three against the Canadiens. In the MLB, it hasn’t happened since the babethe 1920’s when Babe Ruth was playing on the Yankees when they faced The New York Giants and Frankie Frisch from 1921-1923 with the Giants winning two out of three against the Yankees. In the NFL, it has not happened since the 50’s, before there was the Super Bowl, when the Cleveland Browns, led by Hall of Fame QB Otto Graham and Head Coach Paul Brown, faced off against the Detroit Lions, led by Hall of Famers Bobby Layne and Doak Walker, from 1952-54 with the Lions winning the first two match ups and becoming only the third team in league history at that point to repeat as champions.

 

 

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Is a “big 3” big enough these days?

durant warriorsAs many in the sports world know, Kevin Durant elected to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors to team up with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, forming possibly the greatest team ever in the history of the NBA. Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors is also significant due to the fact that with the signing, they are forming the league’s first “Big 4”. Since 2000 there have been at least 13 times when franchises create a “Big 3”. The last time would be when the Warriors drafted Draymond Green. Forming a “super team” does not always guarantee a championship right away, or at all.

mia-big-three

 As we saw when LeBron James and Chris Bosh elected to go to the Miami Heat in free agency in the summer before the 2010-11 season joining Dwayne Wade, they were prematurely crowned champs. The Heat struggled mightily in the first couple of months in the season going 10-8. After they managed to jell after the 10-8 start they would go 48-16 the rest of the season and finish 58-24. They managed to get to the NBA finals, but would lose to the Mavs in 6 games. This “Big 3” would be together the next 3 year and reach the NBA finals every year they were together, winning 2 straight then losing to the Spurs in their 4th appearance. Following the Finals lose to the Spurs, LeBron James elected to go back to the Cavaliers in hopes of finally bringing a championship home.

The Miami Heat had another “Big 3” in 05-06 when they signed Hall of famer Gary Payton to go along with Shaq and Dwayne Wade. This “Big 3”would help lead Miami to the franchise’s first championship ever. This group would only be together for 2 years due to Payton retiring and O’Neal being traded to Phoenix.  This is one of the cases where a “super team” does not always bring championships.

lakersz

In the summer before the 03-04 season the Lakers were able to recruit Karl Malone and Gary Payton to team up with Kobe and Shaq. People did call this a “Big 4” I do not really see it as one due to the fact that they didn’t play together much. I really think of it as a “Big 3” with a mentor. I consider the “Big 3” to consist of Kobe, Shaq, and Gary. I do not Include Karl Malone in the group due to him playing the fewest games out of all of them. That season they were able to win a championship, but it was the only season they would play together. Shaq would get traded to Miami, Karl would retire and Gary would be traded to the Boston Celtics.

spurs big 3

The Spurs had the greatest “Big 3” in the history of the league. The grouping of Manu Ginobilli, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker. This group has led the franchise to 5 titles, and an NBA record 129 playoff wins. This group, alongside the coaching of the one of the greatest coaches, Gregg Popovich, has achieved the status of being the ideal franchise in terms of constant winning. During this off-season, the NBA world saw this power group breakup with the retiring of Tim Duncan.

laker fail

The 2013 L.A. Lakers team was a case where forming a “super team” back fired badly.  The L.A. Lakers acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to play alongside Kobe. This “super team” failed horribly due to Nash’s chronic injuries and missed playing time. Howard and Bryant did not want to share the court with one another. Howard ultimately would be traded that following off season. Another example is the Brooklyn Nets in 2014, when they acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston. The team was never really able to form a cohesive and highly-functional group. To make things worse, the Nets gave up their first round picks for the next couple years to Boston. The 1st first round pick ended up being the 3rd overall pick, and neither Garnett nor Pierce were on the team anymore.

boston big 3

In the off season before the 07-08 season, the Boston Celtics were trying to land a super star to go along with their franchise player Paul “the Truth” Pierce, in hopes of winning banner 16. Boston had not been a real favorable place for players that wanted to join. The team had not been the monster it was back when it went on to win 8 straight championships. Danny Ainge, the GM, was somehow able to pull a trade off and bring Ray Allen from Seattle, and Kevin Garnett from Minnesota. During that following season, the Celtics were a completely different team. They went on to go 66-16 after a disappointing 24-58 season, which is the best single season turn-around for a team in NBA history. They did struggle some in the playoffs, but managed to beat their arch rival L.A. Lakers in the finals to win banner 17. This is one of the rare cases in the Modern day NBA for a “super team” to win the title in the first year.

Yes, I know that there are many “Big 3’s”, but the game is not the same as it was in the years of Hall of Famers Magic, Bird, Russell, and Kareem.