AS expected, the Golden State Warriors prevailed over the inexperience Sacramento Kings in the first round of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs. The final score 120-100. The outcome was not a surprise, but what caught me was that their series reached Game 7.
In do-or-die matches, experience is and will always be the factor.
Thus, the reigning champions Warriors prevailed 4-3, and will face the rejuvenated Los Angeles Lakers in the drama and rivalry-filled Western Conference Semifinals.
Yes, rivalry, between LeBron James and Stephen Curry and the Warriors, that date back in 2015 NBA Finals. The Cavaliers-Warriors rivalry even bested the Chicago Bulls-Utah Jazz’s in the late 1990s. They met in the Finals 4 times with the Warriors winning three, including a humiliating sweep in the 2018 Finals.
With LeBron again, standing in the way of the Curry’s quest for a back-to-back championship, expect a lively series.
This also mean social media noise. Trolls, haters and bandwagoners as well as basketball experts will be all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to discuss the series, some would whiff gutter wrenched insults.
If we talk about who is the favorite? It is no brainer – it’s the Warriors. For one, they are the defending champions and second, they have the deadliest 3-pointer in the league – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. GSW is -165 while the Lakers is +140. I do not know how interpret this betting odds but what I understand is the simple – Warriors are the favorite and the Lakers are the underdogs.
The Lakers: LeBron James is “old,” and Anthony Davis is injury prone, that is emphatic! In addition, the current Lakers was assembled only after the trade deadline last Feb. 9. Barely three-months at this stage. That is why they are the underdogs.
My best friend since childhood, Nolan Ebrado, who is now living in Eastridge Pacifica, California with his wife Lorel, a nurse, and two children – Andee and my godson Natan, is a huge Warriors fan. Last July, they came home to Cebu for a month-long vacation.
Nolan was wearing this Warriors Champions cap when we met for a round of drink. He said he had to buy that item from the airport souvenir shop, just to brag the latest achievement of his favorite NBA team.
This year, it’s either his Warriors or my Lakers will get the chance to move forward.
Yes, LeBron is old, and Davis’ foot is fragile. If any of them will be sidelined because of injury, then the Lakers is finished for good. But if they remain healthy, just imagine how difficult it would be for the Warriors to eliminate the Lakers.
Speaking of the Lakers, at the start of the season when Los Angeles were 2-10, its fans lost hope. At that point, making the playoffs is beyond the bounds of possibility.
Because of an awfully bad start, Lakers fans are already giving up and looked forward to finding jewels in the draft. The name that frequently surfaced was the 19-year-old 7-foot-3 French basketball phenom Victor Wembanyama, who is projected to be the No.1 pick overall in this year’s rookie draft on June 22, 2023.
It was until, the Lakers front office made a bold move on the trade deadline, that fans began to believe in the Lakers. It started by dumping former 2-time MVP Russel
Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones to the Utah Jazz; Patrick Beverley to the Orlando Magic; and Thomas Bryant to the Denver Nuggets, for Malik Beasly, D’Angelo Russel, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Kendrick Nunn was also shipped to the Washington Wizards along with two future second round picks in exchange for Rui Hachimura. The Lakers also acquired center Mo Bamba from a four-team trade that also involved the LA Clippers-Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic.
I always believed that signing Westbrook (and Beverly) was an unwise decision made by the front office.
With Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, Troy Brown Jr., and Lonnie Walker IV given clean bill of health, the Lakers caught up with the pack and finished the regular season above the .500 mark (43-39) to make the No.7 in the Western Conference.
They marched to the Playoffs after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Play-in round to face the No.2 seed Memphis Grizzlies.
The Lakers got the chance to rest their stars – LeBron James and Anthony Davis, for few days, after disposing the highly favored Grizzlies in six games.
Game 1 of the Lakers-Warriors best-of-7 series will be on Wednesday (May 3, Philippine time) at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
More dramas will unfold in this highly anticipated match because this is the fifth time, LeBron and Steph meet in the post season. The previous four were in the NBA Finals where Curry bested Cleveland James 3-1. Again, LeBron is underdog in their head-to-head clash 7-15.
James only victory over Curry and the Warriors came in 2016 Finals where they bounced back from a 1-3 deficit to win the title via 4-3. This was the Season where Golden State bested the Chicago Bulls regular season record with 73-9.
The Warriors are -4.5 favorite: O/U 227.5 according to Ceasars Sportsbook, while TicketSmarter revealed that Game 1 tickets goes from $376 to $23,408. Good for business.
FM Villanueva Wins Malaysia Classical tournament
Cebu To Host First Leg of Shock The Game Tournament
It’s Not Meant To Be!