For the record, the CLEVELAND Cavaliers just tied the series 1-1, 95-93. This has to be one of the tightest, most exciting finals series I’ve seen. For the first time in finals history games 1 & 2 have gone to overtime. But most observers believe the Golden State Warriors will still be eventual champions.
Personally, I have a strong affinity with the Warriors. San Francisco is the only U.S. city that I have gotten to know. 15 years ago, the team was one of the worst in the NBA. But I couldn’t care less. In the Philippines basketball is a religion, being able to watch an NBA game live is a dream come true.
The Warriors is a team the Bay Area could really unite and get into. I remember the Oakland Raiders getting to the AFC finals when I was there in 2000. The Baltimore Ravens beat them as AFC champs 16-3. But obviously not everyone was behind them in the Bay Area as San Francisco also had the 49ers. In baseball it’s the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants. For basketball’s most prestigious league, however, it was the Golden State Warriors or nothing for The City (San Francisco) and The Town (Oakland).
Coincidentally the Bay Area is home to two large ethnic Asian groups. The 2000 census had the official number at 320,000 Filipinos. But I honestly think it’s far greater (about double or more). You could easily walk downtown and hear a few people passing by speaking in Tagalog. So you can imagine alot of our Fil-Am kababyans rejoicing with a Warriors championship.
It’s no surprise they’ve chosen Fil-Am Nayah Damasen to sing the Star Spangled Banner the past couple of years. The talented 10 year old gained recognition since the Western Conference Finals and Game 1 of this championship series. The Warriors have won each game she sings the anthem in this year’s playoffs. IF the Irish can lay claim to Boston, I think us Pinoys can consider The City as our second home.
Although back here in Manila, the old country, there are quite a few LeBron James fans. There were thousands, people lined up for blocks when Nike brought King James here at their Bonifacio High Street outlet. As I’m sure there are Pinoy fans in Cleveland as well, it’s just that the Filipino connection is far stronger with the Warriors.
Master Facial Wash also brought all-star power forward Kevin Love for the Master Game face challenge. The SMART Araneta Coliseum was filled to watch the exhibition game that also featured PBA stars Chris Tiu, Marc Pingris and many more.
One might wonder if LBJ’s decision to abandon the Miami HEAT may have had some karmic effect on Kevin Love’s season ending injury. The CAVS would definitely be a better team with both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love healthy. One never knows how our actions can come back to haunt and harm us in the future even if those affected never get back at us.
The second large Asian ethnic group in the Bay area is even more obvious. San Francisco is home to the oldest and largest Chinatown. To be accurate there are innumerable nationalities and races that live in The City. My point is the large Filipino and Chinese communities will definitely be behind their beloved Golden State Warriors.
I STILL BELIEVE The Warriors are Champs
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that LeBron James can easily be one of the best to play the game EVER. He’s certainly in the top 5 of anyone’s list. People say he’s far more athletically gifted than either Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. Thing is basketball is a team game. You need a whole team to work together.
NOT even three hall of fame players can guarantee you a championship. LeBron learned that the hard way in Miami, even with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade they were beaten by Dallas Mavericks in their first year (2011). MIAMI got their acts together and won two titles back to back (2012/2013) until the Spurs beat them again in 2014.
The problem is not that the Cavaliers don’t have enough good players. Even with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving injured they still have a decent frontline in Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson and an emerging point guard in Matthew Dellavedova who hit crucial free throws / plays in game 2. J.R. Smith is talented, Shawn Marion & James Jones have more finals experience than the whole Warriors roster.
The difference is that The Golden State Warriors work better together as a team. Of course the Splash Brothers: Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson always gets the headlines. They’re certainly splashy to watch with their fancy passes, dunks and 3 pt bombs. But everything really is a team effort whether on offense or defense. Every single player’s passing is snappy and quick, finding the open man, the best player to score and its not always one of the Splash Brothers. Harrison Barnes made a crucial trey at overtime to put them up permanently 108-100 in game 1.
Apart from Le Bron James and Kevin Love (who’s injured). Golden State has Cleveland beat in every player position. Steph Curry is the current MVP and is also the 2015 3point Foot Locker Champ as well.
Andre Iguodala is the epitome of self-sacrifice that the whole Warriors team has bought into. He was a former All Star turned sixth man. He was a starter for most of his career, it took some convincing but his better defense and scoring is a boost off the bench. His defense on LBJ didn’t prevent the big numbers (44pts in Gm 1/39-Gm2). But made him struggle in ‘key plays’ especially in the last 2 minutes. Every single player knows their role and does it well: Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa.
Is it just me or does Draymond Green look like Martin Lawrence’s twin brother? Green is a great example of Defense, passing and rebounding. FYI Martin Lawrence is alive and well in spite of an Internet death hoax. The BIG MOMMA and BAD BOYS star is not in any way related to Draymond Green except with their similarities in facial and goatee features.
Even former All Star David Lee who has hardly seen playing time in the finals has bought into the team concept: “We’ll just see what happens. I love it here. We have accomplished a lot here. We’ll see once the season’s over. The most important thing, though, is getting this ring first and then worrying about that later.” Quoted by Scott Howard Cooper in his story: ‘Lee focused on Finals now, uncertain future later’
The statement is significant especially with the imminence of Lee being traded as he admitted. It’s going to be a really tough and exciting series. But the Warriors are a true team in every sense of the word that’s why they’ll be the 2015 champs.
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