Mind v. Matter
Dandy dust-ups from the past century:
Ford v. Chevy: In a car culture these titans owned the road
Hamburger v. hot dog: Battle over barbecue taste buds never ends
Edison (DC) v. Tesla (AC): Geniuses wrestle for the right to light.
Crawford v. Davis: Golden age film greats fight for fans hearts & minds
Lakers v. Celtics: Early, often and coast-to-coast, their war made the NBA
Mantle v. Mays: In the hero-era, their images held sway over card collectors
The Beatles v. Elvis: British invaders, the mop-top lads moved Mr. Swivel out
Pepsi-Cola v. Coca Cola: Begins brand loyalty but this one can get out of hand;
Catsup v. ketchup: Speech style stirred debate until Hunts® bailed on the Cat.
Tastes great! v. Less filing!: Same vats (Miller) but campaign kept its head.
The Simpsons v. Family Guy: “Brian” alone makes this cartoon call easy as pie.
NBA.F16 features a collision in basketball styles and celebrity cults that is sure to rank among the best in entertainment annals.
With tip-off set for 9pm Thursday nite (6.2) at Oracle in Oakland, defending champ Golden State Warriors takes on a familiar foe from 2015 Finale, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as Warriors seek a cherry-on-top for a record 73 win season while the Cavaliers try again to deliver a first Larry O‘Brien title trophy to the Forest City.
Two faces fill the marquee for this dollar donnybrook: Reigning MVP (2) Steve Curry v. 4-timer LeBron James, both smooth customers and the two hottest commercial commodities across these Consumer States of America.
Curry, coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors are darlings of the young set, their older siblings in journalism, Disney (ESPN) and not a small number of the ladies who may happen to drop in. Kerr’s Krew rely heavily upon the 3-pt shot, a tack heretofore unseen on Assc’n stage. When they’re turning the tres they set records and wow the crowd, but when they lay bricks the scaffolding can all come down.
Warriors best defense? The mind-game. Not the cruel kind, but in by-product.
It’s just one way in which 3-pt’er (‘79) has gradually altered the game of b-ball: Inside action shifts to the high-post, less physicality even for mountain-sized men, 90s trend down in defense continues as tres-defenders opt-out in the risk-benefit balance and swings in momentum that can be seismic (GSW @ OKC G6).
To the last change, it’s not just an extra point the tres tacks on, it’s the psychological impact on the opposition that can demoralize and alter game plan. That’s not necessarily based on rational thought of the opposition but then in a sport where emotions run the gamut, who’s always rational? Coaches, captains try to fend off the heebie-jeebies but the current design of game can make it difficult, especially in final few.
Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, Kerr and the rest of GSW must be commended for exploiting a shot that when made in bushels has, with a Freudian-like finesse, worked inside the heads of opponents. It can emotionally stifle a foes’ momentum, drain confidence while enunciating their own speech-in-swishery (Klay’s 3-pt mark), often running up the bill late in the session: Mind over matter.
In the other corner, Cavs are, of course, led by Lego® LeBron, a team he and owner Gilbert built to specs, though, 5th-year-point-guard-who-plays-like-shooting-guard Kyrie Irving does his best to pile points and tug the spotlight.
Earlier greats like Mikan, Russell, Cousy & Havlicek, Chamberlain & West, Kareem & Big O, Magic, Bird, Jordan & Pippen, Shag, Kobe and Duncan, all sold the NBA product with lots o’ wins and titles galore, but no player has so completely embraced, mastered the role of corporate player as has Mr. James.
Still the favorite of most fans, young & old alike, LeBron guided his teams to enough Finals (6) and hoisted sufficient O’Briens (2) to legitimize his pitch to the public but carries himself with a dignity wrapped in a calm – cool -collected demeanor that should make him the envy of every marketing Cufflink in the land.
The crystal-ball reads pretty clear on this series.
Both squads are near full strength for this rematch of 2015 Final, Cleveland this time having services of their high paid, multi-skilled big-man-with-the-soft-shooting-touch in Love who exited early in 2015 playoffs. He, like his counterpart in Curry are both managing recent injuries that, if inflamed, could alter plans.
How to fend off the injury bug? Player regimen in nutrient supplementation at this point in the journey, including the Bs, ashwagandha, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, D3 and magnesium, all help with the blues, bruises, bones and boost. Then there are offerings to the Sporting Gods. Herbs & beer are tradition. Can’t be too careful.
On defense, you don’t get this far without knowing its value and how to employ it, at least most of the time, anyway, and then both benches are well stocked with capable talent but won’t make the starters too nervy.
Cleveland balances better on scoring, hold an edge on the boards and while Warriors are fleeter-of-feet they don’t utilize it to full advantage, often pulling up on the perimeter to launch the T-bombs (3-pt). Wars are more proficient at the charity-stripe (.764 (.748)) which can play big in the close contests.
Prolific shooters Curry & Thompson keep firing away, working through slumps that may befall. And having a back-up plan at the ready when the 3s start rattling the rim and ♫ clang clang clang ♫ like a San Fran trolley would be wise. Didn’t see one in the WC. Easier said than done but necessity’s the father of invention.
Avoid vesting heavily in 3-pt’er even as they’ve a panache (“25”), not let Golden showers of 3s (bad for sure but you gotta’ laugh) set their minds to worry, give ’em the Freudian slip, so to speak, utilize Kevin to his full potential (sure) to consistently impose their real strength: Power, in drive and rebound: Matter-a-fact-in-your-face, so to speak.
That’s where James mellow-mode, a corporate winner and fine with lesser foes, must give way to a controlled aggression in the Finals to put fear into hearts of men, not just those in blue & yellow but ‘mates who need their minds set right as well. Leadership’s the word.
Big shots (The Beatles) can afford big risks (♫ Getting Better ♫), Mr. James. Think of it in these terms, LeBron, “the (risk) you take is equal to the (market impact) you make.” Cha-ching!
Many in sportology will vacillate by keying on different players to rise to the occasion as the series evolves, hoping the roll comes up 7-11. I don’t play that game. The stars will perform and the support staff with shine depending on the circumstance (foes), their mood and level of moxie. That’s sport.
Who wins this NBA16 championship bout? Cavaliers most likely.
The interlude Cleveland’s enjoyed after dispatching Toronto with relative ease (4-2) can work a determent in dulling an edge, throwing a rhythm. That’s how it plays in football and rounders not infrequently. But in a sport like b-ball where the pace is grueling (soccer) and the post-season gauntlet runs long (NHL), more time off before a title round can heal wounds and re-charge draining batteries.
Rest gives an edge to the Forest City folk over the weary Warriors who compiled 73 RS wins only to be pushed to 7G by a determined OKC bunch and escape by the “hair on their chinny chin chin(s).” Plus, the Ohioans should weather better those sure-to-come 3-point barrages than did the Thunder, possessing the men & methods to counter-punch on that point. At least that’s the arsenal it appears Cavs’ coach Tyronn Lue n’ staff have at the ready.
Photo credits: L.James, wc.cca, K.Allison, 11.21.14; S.Curry, wc, 4.6.14, N.Salzman; Curry, wc, K.Allison, 3.2.11; Love-Irving-James, wc, 10.1.14, E.Drost; James, wc, 4.27.8, K.Allison; Straight-Shooter, produce-label.
Posted: 6.1.16 @ 2:14pm, title-edit @ 4:20; Copyright © 2016
Filed under: NBA
Tagged with: 3-point shot, basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, golden state warriors, Kevin Love, LeBron James, NBA Finals 2016, NBA Finals 2016 injury issue, Nikola Tesla, shot psychology, Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr, The Beatles