Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Game Seven Preview

     I was going to make this next column about the dead man revival that is Jackie Bradley Jr.'s career, but then the Cavaliers stormed back in the NBA finals, blowing out he Warriors in Cleveland and potentially changing the landscape of NBA history, so there are more important things going on. With game seven tonight, let's jump into a preview, starting by looking at who has the most at stake going into the final game.
LeBron James
A win for the Cavs here, which doesn't happen without a killer LeBron performance, launches him into god status in Cleveland. As a side note, LeBron's been the most fun thing about these finals, both because he's fun to watch in general and because of his put-the-team-on-my-back mentality he played with the last two games. That was most evident after he barked at Curry after blocking is shot Thursday night. You may want to debate how effective trash talking is when the guy who's shot you blocked is six inches shorter than you, but the message was clear: The Cavs weren't losing, and LeBron was making sure of that.
Stephen Curry
If the Warriors lose this, then Curry will have been the best player on the greatest regular season team of all time, followed by a stunning finals loss, coming off of a championship the year before in which Curry didn't play as great as he usually does. It will be unfair, but it Dubs lose people will blame Curry.
Harrison Barnes
Outside of Curry, Barnes will shoulder the most blame if he keeps missing shots. I don't know why we would expect anyone else to receive more blame, considering Barnes has been getting blamed for things since he was at North Carolina.
Kevin Love
Tonight is Love's last chance to keep his time in Cleveland from being a total disaster. As much as I want to hate him for leaving the Timberwolves, I can't and not just because that trade worked out so well. Watching the finals, it's hard not to feel bad for him. He's been phased out of the offense and is now being used as a basic stretch 4. I would say Cleveland needs to utilize him more, but the way LeBron's playing it would be silly to do anything else at this point.
Those are the big ones, now let's run through some guys with some, but not quite as much at stake tonight.
Steve Kerr
Has the chance to become the first coach to win the finals in both of his first two years.
David Blatt
A Cavs win would validate his firing last winter, as bizarre as it was at the time.
Andre Iguodala
Looking for one more championship while hobbled, could end up as a great story.
The LeBron and the Cavs have looked great, but teams in the NBA don't lose game sevens at home, and the Warriors don't lose in Oakland.
Warriors 107, Cavs 98

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