Last night the Warriors completed their sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, claiming a place in their fifth straight NBA Finals. This is something that has been accomplished only once before, by the Boston Celtics — who went to the Finals 10 straight years (from 1956–57 through 1965–66), winning all of them but one, including eight in a row. Chances of the Dubs matching that: effectively zero. But that was the NBA’s Age of Titans, and to even be included in the same paragraph with those Celtics (who won two more titles in 1966–67 and 67–68) is an enormous honor.
The feeling for the Nation is a little different than it was after the Houston series; there is not the same joy in standing over the battered and bruised body of an opponent you feel an affinity and empathy for. The Blazers are a class act (and as for what that says about the Rockets, you can draw your own inference).
They just had the bad luck to run into a Warriors team that has rediscovered its mojo and does not look inclined to lose another game to anyone, ever. In each of the last three games of the series the W’s went down double digits at halftime, shrugged, and took care of business down the stretch. Though Game 4 got pretty dicey — it took an overtime, a bit of good luck, unexpected offense from Draymond Green, and Steph Curry playing the whole second half and overtime to seal the deal.
But it was accomplished, and the W’s now get to sit back and await their next opponent. That will be either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors, who are playing Game 4 of their series even as I type, with the Bucks currently up two games to one. Regardless of what happens the NBA Finals will not begin until May 30.
That will probably be enough time for Kevin Durant to recuperate from the calf injury he suffered in Game 5 of the Rockets series. He will be… well, it’s hard to say needed when the Dubs just swept the Conference Finals without him. But certainly wanted, especially if the opponent is Milwaukee and the aptly nicknamed Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
At this moment it’s looking increasingly likely that the Raptors will tie their series at 2–2. All well and good. Let the inferior teams of the East wear themselves out while the Nation takes its rest.