The NBA has a new historic rivalry on its hands.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are both undefeated so far this postseason and appear slated for a third showdown in the Finals, which would be an NBA record. Some might call it boring, others liken it to a golden era of NBA history where the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were the hot-ticket matchup.
Count Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue as part of the latter, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“Is it a problem? I don’t think so. I think a lot of people wanted to see Boston and the Lakers back in the day. I think nowadays, a lot of people want to see Golden State-Cavs. And it’s not a problem. Right now, it’s two of the teams playing some of the best basketball right now.
So two of the teams that have been in back-to-back Finals — so, why not? Why not want to see it again? I don’t see why it would be a problem. I think last year had some of the best ratings, I think, in NBA history. I think now with them adding [Kevin] Durant and the way they’re playing, the way we’re playing, it can be even higher.”
Lue has a point—if this was such a big deal, why do ratings keep going up year after year?
The Finals featuring the same teams three years in a row would be a strong sign the NBA doesn’t have as much parity as it would like. While fair to a degree, this has more to do with generational players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who went to the Finals with other teams recently—they’d get there one way or another.
So it goes in the NBA. With Durant added to the mix and guys like Stephen Curry seeking revenge for last year, this year’s Finals should break more viewing records. So no, Cavaliers-Warriors becoming the new Celtics-Lakers isn’t close to a bad thing.