I don’t know that much about basketball coaching, and I never became a very good player, but I do enjoy watching a good game. I got to see most of two of them on Christmas day.
The first was the Knicks against the Celtics. The Celtics seem to be pretty good, and the Knicks seem to be a lot better than they have been, but not exactly elite yet. Boston beat them, which was what I preferred, and probably has a better shot of getting to the playoffs, but that wasn’t the best game.
The best game was Cleveland against Golden State. Two recent champions going at it, and both looking extremely good. Good offense, good defense on both sides. I didn’t get to watch the whole game, as dinner intervened, but certainly enjoyed what I got to see.
For one thing, I had never seen Kevin Durant play, though I’d certainly heard of him the last few years. He looked like a good scorer, rebounder, and passer, and I look forward to seeing him play more often. LeBron James still looks fine too (aside from the occasional errant pass), and so does Kyrie Irving, who made the winning shot at the end, so that both teams I rooted for won.
I watched the first half, but then had to eat dinner, and didn’t get back until the final minutes of the game. The announcers said that Cleveland had fallen behind by fourteen points and come back. They were just behind when I turned the set on, and I got to see Kyrie Irving drive from backcourt to forecourt in the final seconds and put up the winning jump shot without any problem.
The game itself isn’t very significant in terms of the whole season, but it’s Cleveland against one of the best teams in the league, whom they might have to face again. They could easily have lost this one, but now know how to win. In the first half they missed a lot of jumpers, but never let that bother them, and just kept running their offense. They have two stars and they have role players who know what they’re doing. There wasn’t any lack of effort, and there wasn’t any confusion.
I’ll be interested to see some of the other elite teams, like San Antonio without Tim Duncan and Oklahoma City without Durant. Golden State acquiring him may insure another championship for them, but I don’t think it will be automatic. Cleveland showed they can compete in that game. There may be some other teams who can too.