Does this even qualify as competition? I’m not talking shit or hating on anyone (and I know it’s only Game 2), but this doesn’t feel competitive on any level whatsoever. Watching these last two games felt like watching a kid throw a ball in the air and wondering if it’ll come down. The Warriors got KD. A 73 win team got Kevin Freaking Durant.
College hoops essentially lost Simmons and Fultz the last two seasons and it hardly mattered. If the top 10–20 players are missing across hundreds of teams, UK and Duke will just be a little worse. We watch college hoops for the intensity and madness, not the high level of gameplay. It feels like we’d be years or decades away from ever intensely watching G league.
The NBA Finals record for stocks in a game is 10, once each by Duncan, Hakeem, and Ewing. Dwight, Shaq, Draymond, and Horry each had 9 once. KD’s 8 stocks tied for eighth most ever in an NBA Finals game, and by “ever” I mean since the NBA started tracking in 1984. I’m sure Bill Russell had like 20 at some point.
Everyone just confirmed whatever bias they brought into the game. Westbrook’s teammates sucked so he’s the MVP for dragging them. Harden’s showed up and won so he’s the MVP. Russ wasn’t good enough in the first 50-point triple-double in playoff history. Harden made plays in the clutch after being the reason clutch plays were needed. Etc etc etc.
Smart makes plays that crush opponents mentally. That chase down block on a sure two, that bully rebound, that charge drawn. Those plays deflate an entire team. All the more so when he hits a huge three or clinching layup because he’s so limited offensively that every single bucket feels devastating. And now the Celtics get to add another top-4 prospect to that bench!