Little over 30 minutes after the end of Game 3, I see some outlets already labeling this one a “choke” – Well, they’re wrong!
This is simply a difference in execution of offence from one team with a myriad of options and stars to pick from, versus another with some very weary legs and bodies (from having less staff in the rotation) at the end of an awesome 48 minute tussle. Both had good, open looks – Korver misses a contested corner pocket 3, KD hits a contested top of the arc 3. LeBron misses a fade-away, KD hits a fade-away. Kyrie misses a who-knows-what-he-was-thinking 3… ok that shot was a pretty big brain fade!! (He also had an awesome offensive rebound he had no right in claiming too).
Lets get something straight, and define what I envisage as a “choke”.
Up 6 points with under 30 seconds to go and lose – that’s a “choke”. (As Knicks fans will happily (?) recall Reggie Miller’s awesome 8 points in 8.9 seconds in 1995 – as a Pacers fan, it was timely to chip that one in there, with a YouTube link of the wonderful event included!!)
Up 15 points with a little over 3 minutes to play and lose – that’s a “choke”.
But up 6 with a little over 3 minutes to play – in our wonderful and beloved game, that’s an eternity. To label it a choke could only come from people who have not played the sport at a reasonable standard.
In an average game, there’s probably 9 or 10 possessions left in the game. In this up and down finals series, there’s probably at least 12 possessions – lets say 6 each for basic arguments sake. The 6 point lead can be erased in two simple offences, especially with the deadly shooters on the floor in this series. So for me, there is no way this Cavs loss can be seen as a “choke”. Unfortunate and with some poor decisions, yes. But a “choke”? No.
It simply comes back to the better execution of one team with some additional minutes of rest in their key players in comparison to their opponents.
One thing is certain now though, there’s no way the Warriors lose from here. Not with the cattle assembled in Oakland this year. The question now becomes will it be a 4-0 sweep, and the magic 16-0 playoff run?? Or a 4-1 domination? Either way, Warriors can start printing the caps and t-shirts now.
2 titles in 3 seasons is nice for those Warrior fans who have waited so long since ’75, through all those lean years. They have certainly assembled a generational team right now, one that everyone else will be chasing to emulate or devise the right plans to bring about their downfall.
The next phase of what direction the NBA moves in will come as whoever is able to dethrone these Warriors sets the next standard for all to follow.