The Cold Dish of Revenge Provoked the Warrior`s Mantra
“Revenge is a dish best served cold” was a great quote I remember from the Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan. The wrath of the Golden State Warriors was simmering hot for a rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers after their embarrassing loss last year from a certain victory to an agonizing defeat. Establishing a 3 to 1 game lead and then losing 3 games in a row to lose the series was a humiliating loss that provoked their revenge mantra.
Athletes are professionals who are motivated and driven to excel against the best competition but the reality is a little complacency sets in after winning a championship. Even a little complacency is contagious and that is why teams fail to repeat as champs in any sport.
It is hard to question that the Warriors were not motivated after winning their championship two years ago. They went 73-9 in a record regular season last year and looked even better than the year before. But once they got up 3-1 in the NBA Finals a little complacency arrived and they let up some intensity because of their lead cushion. Did something change where the Cavs wanted it a little more or the Warriors wanted it a little less. Just ask the Atlanta Falcon about the ill effects of a complacent cushion.
Golden State was on a mission this season. They were determined to win from the start and they hit the postseason playing at their unbeaten level in each round and with revenge on their minds. Maybe losing in the finals last year was the best thing for the Warriors. They resolved to return next season with more fire power by signing Kevin Durant in free agency with their cap space and front office expertise. It also may have set them up to become a dynasty that runs off multiple championships in a row.
The Warriors are the model of the future of the NBA. They have multiple versatile players who can guard numerous positions on defense, be flexible on offense, and who can run the floor like thoroughbred horses. Their “Death Lineup” is a model of the super team they have become. However, getting a ring every year is not a fan favorite unless you are a Warriors fan. Paying customers do not want the same dish every time. They expect different results sometimes to give hope to other teams.
However, the NBA has survived other super teams through the decades but much more parity is needed to balance the competition.
The NBA was fortunate to have the Cavs playing the Warriors for the only real competition for the Warriors but still not enough. The Cavs were in a bad spot because if they rested LeBron, the bench could not compete. The bench showed their best in game 5 but the Warriors were too much down the stretch.
Kyrie Irving’s numbers looked nice overall, but he shot 34.8 percent in a Game 2 loss and went 0-for-7 on threes in Game 3. Kevin Love did not hit his shots in Games 1, 3 and 5 of the series. Tristan Thompson went scoreless in two of the series’ first three games and was a non-factor, mostly because his style of play didn’t fit in with the pace of the games. Kyle Korver went 3-for-12 on threes in his first three Finals games, picking a horrible time to not be at his best. JR Smith was similarly ineffective the first two games of the series before getting hot after that and exploding in Game 5. Mid-season acquisition Deron Williams was 0-for-11 in his first three games of the Finals. About the only reliable bench player in the series was Richard Jefferson, who not only made his shots, but also played well on defense.
The Cavs maybe can get a few more years of this incredible level of play from LeBron James before he starts to slow down. They need to make some roster changes in the off-season if they want to have a better shot at overtaking the Warriors next year. Basketball is the hardest sport to make changes with limited roster space and a salary cap to manage. Hopefully, this years draft will enable teams to improve with new players but it is a crap shoot to find that impact player out of college. The future of the NBA belongs to the Warriors for now.