Our basketball panel discusses the Warriors streak ending and the Xmas day matchup ahead
How disappointing was it that Milwaukee ended the streak and LeBron didn’t have a chance for a big payback on Xmas day?
Mallory Stith-Wheat: I wanted that so bad. The drama would have been unreal. The Lakers record was never supposed to be broken. Ever. If the Warriors tied it on Xmas they would have gotten the record the next game against the Kings. LeBron could have ruined something the Warriors really wanted. That’s the beauty about the Warriors. They go after what they want and they say it out loud. They don’t front for the media.
C.J. Hampshire: It would have been epic and electric. But it was predictable. The last game of the road trip. I knew when O.J. Mayo was making threes it was going to be some bad karma.
Brendan Gillespie: But isn’t sports like that? If that had been the Bulls, the Warriors would have won that thing going away. But it was the boring, bad, underachieving Bucks. Figures.
Julian Billick: I wanted it to be LeBron. I wanted him to go into Oracle on Christmas and put up 40, 14 and 8. No knock against Greg Monroe and the Fear the Deer crowd, I couldn’t get into it.
Does it take the shine off of Cavs-Warriors, the game itself, or is it still much watch T.V.?
Brendan: Hell no. That games is going to be epic. Like Mallory said, the Warriors love putting everything out there. They have no subterfuge. They are not into making you guess. They don’t care what you think or what you say. So they are going after the Cavs on Xmas.
Mallory: Kyrie might be back, who knows? Everything about it is good. LeBron is expert at payback when he loses in the Finals. He is going to show up big time. It’s the rest of those guys I’m not so sure about.
C.J.: The Warriors are one of those throw back teams, sort of like the Kobe-Shaq Lakers that want to destroy you, embarrass you and have a good time while doing it. They want to beat the Cavs by 30. Who doesn’t want to see LeBron get ruined on Xmas?
Julian: In some ways, with the streak over, the Warriors have the advantage. Draymond Green said after the game that now the Warriors can get back to business. I expect a full throtte assault. It’s hard to know about the Cavs side of things. They underachieve on the road. LeBron will be on a mission but the rest of them is the big question mark. Also David Blatt. Does he understand what beating the Warriors at home would do for the Cavs psyche?
How bad is Curry going to destroy Dellavedova after last year?
Julian: Chances are they won’t be matched up against each other. It will be Mo Williams but if it happens it’s going to be ugly for Delly. Actually Curry needs to thank Delly. Those two Finals games that Delly got in his head caused Curry to toughen up his mental game. He came into this season with everyone doubting him and he has a shot at a unanimous MVP vote.
Mallory: Curry is on another level right now. He came into the season with a purpose, to be the undisputed scorer on his team, the best player. He doesn’t lead the team in assists. He’s Jordan with a twist. Perhaps he’s suppressed Klay somewhat who is dependent on Curry. But this is his time. He is in his prime. He has to take advantage of his ability to get his shot off and no one being able to stop it.
C.J.: Remember the various Kobe stoppers over the years? We need to have a Curry stopper. We can start with Delly. He did it for two games. No one else has gotten that far.
Brendan: Curry’s greatness means he’s going to overcome those two games of being punked by a role playing guard. If you are a dominant player and that happened to you on the big stage you either blow it off or you remember it over and over and it fuels you. Remember what KG did to Pau Gasol, how he emasculated him in 2008. The next season Gasol had his revenge. This is Curry’s revenge year. He’s got game. Just watch in awe.
(next week: Xmas Day predictions)
photo via llananba