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NBA Postseason

The NBA has seen one of its most competitive seasons yet with teams like Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers roaring through the conference standings. With numerous promising teams, one series was the most desired: Houston Rockets against the Golden State Warriors. Led by James Harden, the Houston Rockets have proven that they are going for the title, harder than ever. This highly anticipated series ultimately became the Western Conference Final. The team formulated to overcome the Warriors, however, came up short. In a seven game series, the Warriors prevailed with both teams a man down: Rockets’ starting point guard, Chris Paul, pulled a hamstring in Game 5 of the series, causing him to miss the last two games and the Warriors’ final member of the Hampton’s Five, Andre Iguodala, suffered a bone bruise in his left knee during Game 3, forcing him to miss the remainder of the Western Conference Finals.

On the other coast, the Celtics blew their 2-0 lead until the series tied. This series, too, stretched to a seven game series where the Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately became victorious. Once again, fans were given a Warriors-Cavaliers finals for the fourth year straight—and Lebron James fans got to see Lebron James in the finals for the eighth year in a row.

May 31, 2018 marked Game 1 for the finals series. The NBA finals began on a hesitant note with Game 1 heading into overtime, Tristan Thompson’s ejection, and the heavily memed JR Smith blunder. If fans learned anything from Game 1, it is that memes can make any situation better—kind of. Almost. Not really. Lebron watched his historical game, with 51 points—a Playoff-career high—go down the drain in a matter of 4.7 seconds. In Game 2, however, JR Smith was welcomed with open arms by the fans at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Fans roared “MVP” at JR Smith as an appreciative gesture for his game-losing blunder in Game 1. George Hill avoided vast amounts of possible hate for missing the game winning free throw because of his teammate. Needless to say, he got lucky. Stephen A. Smith said it best; players miss free throws, that is normal. But forgetting the score is inexcusable. Lebron James’ reaction following the blunder and his attitude going into overtime lost the game for the Cavs. A video leaked of the Cavs on the bench following the end of regulation and it is evident that Lebron set his team up for failure. Lebron, being the leader of the Cavaliers, is expected to set a standard, and up the enthusiasm, and motivate his team; his attitude, which is understandable given the circumstances, did the complete opposite. He went into overtime with the mindset that he will lose, making his teammates believe the same.

The following two games were fairly eventful, with Golden States winning both. Game 2, at Oracle Arena ended with 103-122 and Game 3, at the Quicken Loans Arena, ended at 110-102. In Game 2, Stephen Curry made finals history by shooting the most three-pointers in a finals with a record 9 three-pointers. His next game, however, began and ended badly when he scored a measly 11 points within the entirety of the game. The Splash Brothers had a tough game, scoring a total of 21 points. In Game 3, Kevin Durant soared with 43 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. This game was the game that ended the entire series.

The series ended in Cleveland with a blowout game for the Warriors: 108-85. Kevin Durant, the 2017 and 2018 finals MVP, ended the series with his first playoff triple double: 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Curry ended the game with 37 points while Klay Thompson had a rougher game; he began with a few fouls in the first half and scored a total of 10 points. Ultimately, the Golden State Warriors won their second consecutive title and their third title in four years.

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