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Monday, September 16, 2019

Pages: SC, not SC

LIKE death and taxes, two things are certain: the Cavs and Warriors will meet on June 1 and SkyCable sucks. Of the latter, I’ve been a subscriber for years. I’ve also been an NBA fanatic for years. Sadly, these two don’t match since SkyCable stopped airing the games perfectly-timed when the playoffs started.

I agree with Al Mendoza, my neighbor on these back pages, when he predicted another Cleveland vs. Golden State finale. How can we argue against that? It’s the first time in history that two squads zoomed to 8-0 scorecards. (Back in 1989, the Pistons and Lakers swept past their tormentors but the first round then was only best-of-five).

An analysis was conducted on the length of time that both teams led their playoff opponents and the result was this: they led 90 percent of the time. In one astonishing statistic, when the Warriors played the Jazz, they led for 192 minutes while the Jazz only led for 12 minutes. Dominance? We need a more dominant word. How about inevitable? It appears inevitable that these back-to-back finalists will meet for Part 3 — another first in history (two squads meeting in three straight finals).

For the Cavs, there’s a super-man who’s averaging 34.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in the playoffs. Need we ask who? He’s on his 14th season and is gunning for his seventh consecutive visit to The Finals.

“LeBron is playing better than before,” said Cebu’s most celebrated coach, Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba, in our talk the other day. “He has improved his 3-point shooting. He’s also getting more support this season. One example is Kyle Korver.”

LeBron’s shooting has improved. From beyond the arc, he averaged 36.3 percent in the regular season and now has a 46.8 percent clip in the playoffs. On the free-throw line, it’s the same: while he averaged a paltry 67.4 percent during the regular season, in the four games versus the Raptors, he upped that to 83.3 percent.

Yayoy Alcoseba expects San Antonio to prevail against Houston. While the Spurs lost Tony Parker to injury, the Rockets suffered the same fate with the loss of Nene. In the East, I was surprised with Yayoy’s pick. He chose the Washington Wizards over the Boston Celtics. But these preliminaries are insignificant. They’re like the trailers that we watch in the theater. Thrilling, yes, but they’re snippets as we await for the main movie. Coach Yayoy, like most of us, predicts a “third collision course for the Cavs and Warriors;” he expects that it will reach Game 7. His pick? Given their homecourt advantage and the addition of Kevin Durant, it’s GSW.

Apart from Durant, one major plus for the Warriors this year has been their injury-free playoff start. Last year, Stephen Curry succumbed to ankle and knee injuries and probably wasn’t 100 percent in the Finals.

“Injuries are really something you can’t control, but we helped ourselves by getting this done in four games each round, get to take some time off, and guys weren’t playing heavy minutes,” Curry said. “Nobody hurt. That’s a big deal and we can take that advantage into the next round.”

Rested, laden with All-Stars, injury-free, a break-the-tie Final.. what’s there not to like?

Steph Curry, not SkyCable.
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