The Warriors rolled through the West playoffs at 16-1 this year, putting together the second-highest margin of victory in NBA history in the process. They’ve staked their claim as the greatest team in league history, and now the question falls to the rest of the league: What are you going to do about it?
Or, maybe, more accurately: What can be done, if anything?
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Abdul-Jabbar was fortunate to play with two all-time terrific passers, as his time with Oscar Robertson in Milwaukee was trumped by glorious later-career triumph with Johnson. Between Johnson’s ultimate point forward ability to play any position and Abdul-Jabbar throwing down his patented sky hook, the Lakers became must-watch, Showtime entertainment under coach Pat Riley.
The first came at 1:29 after Kyrie Irving hustled to gather an offensive rebound off his own miss. After that, James missed a fallaway, free-throw line jumper, a shot he routinely makes. About that shot, James said, We had some really good looks. I had a turnaround jumper in the post fade-away, I make a ton, didn’t go in.
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Second, there was the Kyle Korver shot. With 52.5 seconds to play and Cleveland ahead, 113-111, James had Kevin Durant in isolation and patiently waited until Korver came free in the corner. Korver, mind you, shot 51.0 percent on corner 3s this season, and the Cavaliers brought him to Cleveland in January specifically for this sort of moment. There will be those who bash James for what happened next he passed to Korver, who missed the shot but that’s nonsense. He made the right play. Korver blew it.
You want to attack the paint, coach Tyronn Lue said. You want to put the pressure on them. And if they helped, I thought Korver got a clean look. And just putting the pressure on them. If they help, you got to make the right play, which LeBron always does. And if they don’t, then get all the way to the basket because they don’t have shot blockers.