[quote] Though they fell flat on their faces at the finish line in the Western Conference finals last season, the outlook on the Thunder’s upcoming season was generally positive. They were the best team in the playoffs, they were right there, and they were going to re-up and get right back there again.[/quote]
Is Cleveland literally being trolled by Bill Simmons and his associated with his long-standing beef with the Cavaliers, here? Or, is it something else? Is it a bias against teams from the Eastern Conference?
The Thunder were not the best team in the playoffs last year. You know how I know that? Because they didn’t win the championship. They didn’t even make it to the Finals. They weren’t even beaten by the eventual champion, for gods sake.
The Cavaliers first set the entire EC on fire in a way that no one expected going into the playoffs. Seriously, go back and read the articles about how it was a more competitive field before they started mowing teams down.
Going into the Finals, they had statistically the best team in the NBA. Then, the Finals started, the Cavs lost the first two games and suddenly everyone decided the Cavs were a laughable test as compared to the all mighty Thunder. Unfortunately, things changed quickly.
Of the final five games of the series, the Cavaliers completely out-played the Warriors. The Cavs won 8 of the last 12 quarters of the series and, most astoundingly, Cleveland outscored the Dubs in every 3rd and 4th quarter from Game 5 onward.
Iggy has reason to say he thought OKC was the best team they played… because the Warriors beat the Thunder. It’s easy to be “humble” when you win. If anything, it was a passive aggressive swipe at Cleveland which The Ringer has been happily lapping up.
The funny thing is, a lot of Cavs fans wanted the Warriors to come back and win the WCF because they felt the media wouldn’t give Cleveland their just dues unless they beat the defending champions. Here we are, a month-and-a-half later and the script has been flipped.
We didn’t play the best team in The Finals at all! It was really the Thunder.
I just don’t understand it. This seems like a story people like Simmons and the writers here could get around. Yes, yes… I know about “Cleveland Week.” It sucked and barely focused on anything other than LeBron, when in fact he got a ton of help.
Kyrie Irving totally outplayed Steph Curry in The Finals. He was far better against the Dubs than Westbrook was and he’s FOUR years younger. But, you’d never know it.
I want to like this website. I used to look forward to Simmons’ long-form columns way back when … but, it’s hard when you’re from NE Ohio and this region and its players (outside of LeBron) are routinely disrespected.