Saturday, June 17, 2017

Top 10 Moments of the 2017 NBA Finals

My other favorite moments of the 2016-2017 NBA season:
My Finals recaps:

The 2017 NBA Finals certainly didn’t lack unforgettable moments.  But, just like before, I only have room for ten of them.

10.) The Dubs Winning the Championship
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way: the moment the Warriors became champions again.

I’m a Laker fan first and foremost, but until they make the playoffs again, as an NBA fan, the Golden State Warriors have been the team I’ve been rooting to win it all since 2013.  Hence, I was elated when they won in 2015 and this year.

The first thing that comes to mind about the Dubs winning is Steph, Klay, Draymond, Iggy, Coach Kerr, and others winning their second championship in three years and avenging their loss to the Cavs in last year’s Finals.  Or Kevin Durant getting his first ring.  Understandable.  But it’s also worth noting that half of their rotation weren’t part of the “73-9” team and are only getting rings for the first time after many years in the league.  Former All-Star David West, who first went “mercenary for a ring” with the Spurs last season before continuing his project with the Warriors this season, is now a champion.  JaVale McGee, who became well-known for his “Shaqtin’ a Fool” mishaps, is now a champion.   Silly Zaza Pachulia, too.

But the one I’m most happy about that is finally receiving a ring is Matt Barnes, being a former Laker and all.  He was supposed to be part of a Laker championship team back in 2011, and it’s a bummer that that didn’t happen.  Most importantly, he was a part of the beloved 2006-2007 “We Believe” Golden State Warriors team – which, at number eight, toppled the first-seed, 67-win Dallas Mavericks in 6 games.  So it was really special for that team to be represented in this championship team through him.  And what makes it further remarkable is that he isn’t supposed to be in this team.  But because Kevin Durant went down with an injury in March – which made him miss 19 games – the Warriors needed someone like him to help fill the spot at small forward.  So he was signed.  It’s also fortunate that he was available at that time, since he had just been waived by the Kings a few weeks prior.  A lucky break for him, and a feel-good story for fans.

Speaking of something feel-good…

9.) When Kyle Korver Made a Rare Dunk
In fact, it was such a feel-good moment that even Draymond Green and David West had to smile.

8.) When the Cavs Let KD Dunk on Them All Throughout Game 1
In Game 1, the Cavs’ perplexing defense strategy against the Dubs in transition was to run the shooters out of the three-point line… and clear the lanes for Kevin Durant.  He obliged with a bajillion dunks.

7.) When KD Shot a Finals-Defining Trey
When KD drained this in Game 3, it was basically game over for the Cavs.

6.) When Dray Went Full-On WWE Heel, Reveling in the Crowd’s Jeers
In Game 4, Cavs Nation chanted, “Draymond Sucks.”   Dray’s response?  He bobbed his head along with it.  And I laughed.  This display of sass and insolence was extremely entertaining and amusing.

5.) When Stephen Curry Challenged LeBron One-on-One and Won
This would have been number one if Steph didn’t technically travel.

4.) When LeBron Went T-Mac
I wonder how much LeBron paid to license T-Mac’s patented move?

3.) When Every Warrior on the Floor Couldn’t Stop Kyrie’s Razzle-Dazzle Buzzer-Beater
Fortunately for the Warriors, he wasn’t this brilliant and successful in every single second of every single game.

2.) When KD Neutralized Kevin Love’s Post-Up Play
Utter humiliation for Kevin Love.
As a rookie, KD started out as a shooting guard.  Now, at this point of his career, he can very much be a solid big man when needed.  Gotta love how KD showcased his versatility and development in this big stage.

1.) Whenever Klay Thompson Was on Defense
Kevin Love got totally owned.
Right off the bat of this Finals, I just knew Klay playing defense was going to be a joy to watch.  And, indeed, throughout the series, whether he was also contributing on offense or not, his unwavering, tenacious defense was to be counted on.

Sure, the Cavs are talented enough to score on him.  Nevertheless, Klay did his best to never make it easy for them to get their points (mostly Kyrie).  He knew this: even when they don’t miss, never stop bothering them all throughout, and eventually, the work you have put into would pay off – it would wear them down, it would get under their skins, that during the critical moment of the game, they would miss.
Check out how Klay was one step ahead of Kyrie in this crucial play.
Doesn’t matter if they win battles, as long as you win the war.  And Klay definitely won the war.

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