Cavs vs. Rockets is the NBA Finals We Deserve
Sunday night, the Houston Rockets took on the defending champ, Cleveland Cavaliers. I originally thought the game was in the 3:30 pm slot so I planned my day out accordingly. Sleep till about 12ish, complain that I'm hungry, watch some "Curb Your Enthusiasm," then game. Only one problem, the fucking Knickerbockers from Manhattan was slated to play. Me being the NBA fanatic I am, I watched that shit. I watched the Knicks score nine goddamn first quarter points. I watched them put up 26 points in a 24 minutes of play. But even my NBA fandom has a limit; I could not go back for anymore, man. I tried, but halftime is where that proverbial line in the sand was drawn.
9 o'clock hit which meant two things: CSI Miami marathon and Rockets-Cavs tip off (I am a master flipper from one station to the next on commercial breaks -- top 5 in Florida at the very least).
Houston and Cleveland entered Sunday's showdown as the top two teams in 3-point shooting, fireworks were expected. Houston came out firing as usual, in a back and forth affair that saw superstars and role players alike step up.
The second half saw Houston storm back after a dominant 2nd quarter by Richard Jefferson & Co. (no, that is not a typo). Houston eventually prevailed 117-112 in one of the best games I've seen this season.
Few things stood out to me:
◦ Harden was the best player on the court the entire night. When he was on the floor, Houston outscored Cleveland by 23 points. Harden poured in 38 points to go along with 11 assists and 10 rebounds (triple double for those counting). He did it all against Cleveland's atrocious defense (more on this in a few). Harden's full arsenal was on display, getting to the free throw line at will, hitting timely 3s and setting up his 3-point sharpshooters.
◦ Houston played... Defense? Yes, they did surprisingly. Down the stretch of a tight game, the Rockets got crucial stops led by Patrick Beverly tracking down every loose ball and Nene's active hands seemingly deflecting everything within reach.
◦ Cleveland looked spry even though it was the second night of a back-to-back (played here in Orlando Saturday night) and their third game in four nights. Houston's defense and shaky legs led to their fade down the stretch. But some good for Cleveland? The acquisition of Deron Williams is paying dividends. During the spurt in the second quarter which saw the Cavs build a double-digit lead, it was their bench unit, ran by Williams and Irving that did the damage. Guess having two playmakers on the court at all times makes a difference, huh?
◦ Some bad for Cleveland? Their defense continues to be downright bad. The Cavs are currently 22nd in defensive efficiency. There's only been 3 teams in the last 30 years to win a title with a efficiency rating outside of the top-10.
Anyway, I deserved this game. Matter of fact, WE deserved this game. We suffered through Warriors-Spurs, which saw nobody I could name suit up. The goddamn Knicks stunk up the Lord's Day and had the NERVE to be on in Primetime. Cavs-Rockets saved the day and the basketball weekend.
Sign me up for 7 of these games come June, please. Y'all be cool.